Concrete poems use words to show not only the writer's meaning, but also the form of the poem itself. The writer formats the poem's lines to create a shape that echoes the poem's subject matter. For example, German poet Gomringer wrote a poem that repeated the German word for "silence" over and over in a block of text, and then left the center of the block of text empty. The word silence surrounds a section of "silence" and evokes the feeling of silence with the space. You can write your own concrete poem about basketball if you want to express your feelings or ideas about the sport through poetry.
Things You'll Need
- Pencil and paper
- Concrete poem examples
- Colored pencils
- Computer with word processing software (optional)
Brainstorm your ideas, feelings and knowledge about basketball on a sheet of paper. Flesh out what you want to say. Concrete poetry follows no rules about meter and often doesn't rhyme. The visual aspects of concrete poetry are at the forefront, so keep your ideas straightforward.
Look at examples of concrete poetry. You'll find inspiring uses of the visual form from poets such as e.e. cummings and Ezra Pound. After looking at many examples, choose a basic, simple image for your poem, such as a basketball or a basketball hoop. Try to avoid overly complex images, such as a basketball going through a hoop; those types of images are difficult to render with text.
Draw a rough sketch of your poem's image. Write your words over your sketch to plan where each word will go. Draw another more polished version of your concrete poem. Hold up the image, away from your face. You should be able to immediately see the shape or form you intended; if you can't tell what your image is supposed to represent, you need to rewrite the poem. For example, a concrete poem using a basketball's shape should have lines that get gradually wider and then thinner, creating a round shape. Space the words or letters apart to mimic the lines on a basketball.
Create more visual interest with your poem by using larger or smaller writing, darker or lighter pencil marks or colored pencils. For the basketball shape example, you might lightly shade the background orange and darken the letters where the black lines should be instead of leaving spaces.
Draw a final draft of your poem to complete the process. You can also write the poem on your computer's word processing software, which will give you the option of using fonts to enhance your poem's image.
- Poets.org: Looking at and Looking Through: Futurism, Dada and Concrete Poetry
- "Poetry Writing: Grades 3-5"; Kimberly A. Williams; 2004
- "Unlocking the Poem"; Ottone M. Riccio, Ellen Beth Siegel; 2009
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images