7 Tips for Writing Concrete or Visual Poetry

Poetry itself is a type of art, but did you know that you can create poetry to look like art, too? By paying close attention to the way you write or type the actual words, you can create an image that connects to the story your poem tells! Here are some tips to get you started, and some of our Power Poets' visual poetry

  1. Purpose: Concrete poetry, also called visual or shape poetry, was created as a way to combine image and poetry. The importance of language is emphasized in this type of art, as the shapes the words make are just as important as what they say.
  2. Write: With concrete poetry, it’s a good idea to first write out your whole poem without putting it into a shape and then add then let the words make up the shape later. There are no rules when it comes to a concrete poem, so you’re free to let your imagination run wild and create any story you’d like! Don’t worry about the length of your poem, but remember that the more words you have, the bigger your shape will be.
  3. Shape: Pick a shape that you want your poem to create. If someone looks at your poem from far away, they will see the outline of the shape, but up close they will actually be able to read the words. Knowing this, you will probably want to pick a pretty simple shape. First, think of what story your poem will tell, and match the shape to the theme of the poem. For example, if you are writing a love poem you might want the poem to be shaped like a heart. 
  4. Draw: You don’t need to be an artist to make this poem look great! Just draw an outline of the shape you picked, either on paper or with a drawing tool from a computer program like Paint, or Photoshop if you're feeling fancy. If you’re going to draw your concrete poem by hand, you can always scan the picture and upload it to your computer so you have a virtual version too!
  5. Words: Remember, the words of the poem are just as important as the shapes they make for a concrete poem. So, it’s a good idea to experiment with using bold, italics, or even colors to add shade and texture to the words or to make whatever shape you use look 3D! Then, either by hand or using a program, paste the words of the poem you’ve written onto the outline of the shape in the order you want them to be read! Now, you will have created your own original poetic picture!
  6. Make a Scene: Don’t just stop at one shape — make a whole scene! Go crazy and write a whole bunch of poems that are different lengths and turn them into all different sizes of shapes to create an image that tells its own story! You could even make a picture book using your concrete poetry.
  7. Power Poetry: As always, the possibilities are endless. Make sure to post your concrete poem to PowerPoetry.org to inspire other poets to turn their poems into visual art too!




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