How to Write a Concrete Poem
Concrete poetry, also called pattern or shape poetry, has a visual appearance that matches the subject matter of the poem. The emphasis on form separates this genre from other types of poetry. By selecting an object to focus your poem on, you can easily write your own concrete poem.
Drawing a Shape
Decide what to write about.Pick an object to be the subject you write about. The object needs to be something you can draw a picture of. Many different objects will work for creating a concrete poem.
- Choose your favorite animal.
- Pick a mode of transportation.
- Use a common object like a star, heart, rainbow, or sun.
- Choose a holiday object.
Choose a shape or shapes to represent your writing.When you’ve decided on the object to write about, you need to choose a shape to represent this object. For example if you’ve decided to write about a dog, you can choose the shape of a dog or a dog bone. If you’ve chosen to write about a common object like a star, then your shape would be a star. You can use several shapes if it helps you depict your object. For example, if you write about an airplane taking off, you can have several airplane shapes that get higher on the page to show an airplane taking off.
- Your shape can also contrast the meaning of your poem; a poem about life might be in the shape of a tombstone. A poem about hate could be in the shape of a heart.
- Be creative to allow the shape and the words of your poem to create a whole picture that has more meaning than either would individually.
Draw the shape(s).Use a pencil to draw the shape or shapes onto two pieces of paper. One will be a rough draft, and the other will be a final draft. Try to center your shape on the paper. The shape should be large so you can fit your entire poem inside of it. Just draw an outline of the shape, don’t color it in.
Writing the Poem
Brainstorm a list of words about your topic.Think about the subject of your poem and make a list of any word that comes to mind when you consider your topic. Include words that are opposites of your topic to create contrast and paint a full picture of all the things that you imagine related to your topic, both good and bad.
- Don't worry about composing lines yet; just create a list of anything that comes to mind.
- Include phrases that may become lines of the poem when you are brainstorming.
Use figurative language.Poetry is an art form; let your words paint a picture for the reader. Try to use descriptive language and words with meanings that can be interpreted in multiple ways.
- Similes and metaphors often help poets describe feelings or events.
- Use words that can have multiple meanings to allow your reader to question the purpose of the poem.
Move lines around as you write.Don't be afraid to rearrange your thoughts as you are composing your poem. Often times the first line you think of may become the last line in the poem.
- Consider the feeling each line evokes as you create your poem.
- Think about the setting or mood you are trying to create with your poem. Try to take the reader on a journey of the mind to fully develop the idea of your poem.
Read the lines out loud as you write.Most poems contain a rhythm or cadence in the lines. Speak the lines out loud to hear how they sound. Adjust the number of syllables and where the line breaks occur to create a flow that is pleasing to the ear.
- Consider using rhyming words to end each line.
- The emphasis of certain syllables in words helps to create the rhythm of the poem; listen to how each word sounds with the words around it.
Write the poem on paper.Start by writing the poem down on paper without trying to make it into a shape. Write your poem down, and then read it back to yourself. If you don’t like it, keep changing it until you get the poem you like. It may take several revisions before you have your final copy.
Write a rough draft of your concrete poem.Use one of your drawn shapes to create a rough draft of your poem. You can use the words in your poem to fill your shape to create the picture, or you can write the words around the outline of your shape to create the picture.
- If you fill the shape with words, make sure the words on the ends of each line line up with the outline of your shape. This will make the lines of the poem create the outline of your shape.
- If you write the words around the outline of the shape, make sure your poem extends around the entire outline of your shape. If your poem is too short to make it all the way around, you can either make your shape smaller or make more space between each word.
Make the final copy.When you have a rough draft that you’re happy with, it’s time to make the final copy. Use the other shape you’ve already drawn to make the final copy. Make sure to match your rough draft exactly to end up with the final copy like you want it. Use a pencil to write the poem onto the paper so you can erase any mistakes. When you have the entire poem written in the shape, you can go over the pencil with a pen or permanent marker. Then, use an eraser to erase any stray pencil marks.
Using Word Processing Software
Find the shape using clip art.Insert an image on your document file using clip art. An outline image that is in the shape you want to use works best.
- Set the image fill to your desired color. A white background works well to type over.
- Make sure your font color is set to a contrasting color for your shape’s background. If you fill in the shape with a dark color, consider using a white font color so your words pop.
Set the options to type over the image.When an image is inserted into a word processing document you can select different ways that the text is incorporated around or into the image.
- When using Microsoft Word select the Page Layout Tab.
- Highlight the image or shape your poem will be in.
- Set the image to appear behind the text you are typing.
Type your poem into the word processing software.Type your poem over the image you have inserted into the document.
- Use the Tab key, spacebar, and enter key to separate lines of the poem according to your desired shape.
Change the font size and spacing to fit your image.Use different sizes of fonts to fill your image appropriately. You may want to make certain words larger than others to help make your poem take on its final shape.
Select a font, font size, and color for your poem.Once you have the words and the image in place, you can experiment with different fonts, colors, and sizes to achieve the desired look.
- Use different colors to highlight the final words of each line and accentuate the shape of your poem.
- Try using bold type face or different sizes to create the shape of the poem.
QuestionHow many lines do I have to have?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is no minimum or maximum for lines.Thanks!
QuestionIsn't a concrete poem only made of words? I thought you could just erase the general shape.riasat audhyCommunity AnswerThat's what you're supposed to do. Erase the lines for the shape when you're done with your poem.Thanks!
QuestionCan I write a concrete poem that doesn't rhyme?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSure! What matters most is fitting your poem to a defined shape.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does it take?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere really is no set time. A concrete poem could take a few minutes to create or it could take days or even months.Thanks!
QuestionCan I make up a new word in concrete poetry?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerConcrete poetry is for REAL words ONLY. It's concrete for a reason.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I type onto my picture?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGo to Google Docs. Paste your picture on a new document, then add text box(es) where you want to type.Thanks!
What is the best shape I could use?
To write a concrete poem, start by drawing a shape that represents the subject that you want to write about. For example, if you wanted to write a poem about making a snowman, you could draw the outline of a snowman. Once you've drawn your shape, just write your poem inside of it and then you're finished! Make sure each line goes from one side of the shape to the other and that none of the words go outside of the shape.
- Write the words in different sizes to help accent the shape of your poem.
- Free verse style poetry works well for concrete style poetry because each line might be a different length.
- Use descriptive imagery to reinforce the shape with your wording.
- Brainstorm a list of words associated with your shape to include in your poem.
Video: Making Concrete Poetry
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