(A concrete poem)(Click here to view the poem larger. Or click here for a PDF version.)
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Some years ago I came across an intriguing little book titled "anthology of concretism." The book is out of print but a few copies are available on the Internet. It's a fun little book. I think it appealed to me because of my own visual bent when it comes to writing and layout.
Concrete, or visual, poetry is a mashup of graphic design, typography, and poetry. While most poetry is meant to be read out loud or in one's head, concrete poetry is meant to mess with one's head as it is viewed like a painting or sculpture. Eugene Wildman posits in the book, "Is concretism not indeed a kind of folk art? It is all around us; it expresses what is truly fundamental in our lives."
More traditional examples of concretism can be seen in "shape" poems such as George Herbert's "Angel Wings," Dylan Thomas' "Vision and Prayer," and several of those by e .e. cummings.
The poem above was inspired by a phrase that's been repeated for weeks related to the search for missing flight MH370. Every expert and reporter points out the obvious, stating the the search encompasses a "vast body of water." If you look carefully at the poem, there's more there than initially meets the eye. You can get a better view by clicking here for a PDF version; one of the challenges of concrete poetry is presenting it on a virtual page.
While many may not care for concretism, the key is not to take it too seriously, and just enjoy the different way of seeing visual poems present.
Do you like it? Hate it? Not sure? Sound off in the comments!
This poem is included in this collection: