After participating in the National Exhibition of Concrete Art (1956–57), their work was dubbed "concrete poetry." A manifesto of Brazilian concrete poetry was released in 1958, followed by an anthology in 1962. In the United States, concrete poetry was associated with John Cage and his circle.
Concrete poetry is made up of discrete elements called "concrete words" or "concretions." These elements are usually lines of verse, but they can also be images, parts of speech, or any other small unit of information that can be arranged in a pattern. The term "concrete" here does not mean literal or physical, but rather it implies that the form of the composition is as important as its content.
The first known use of the term "concrete poetry" was in 1956 by Robert Smithson when he wrote: "I should like to try my hand at some concrete poems." The following year, William Carlos Williams used the same term in reference to his own work.
In the 1960s, American poets associated with the Objectivist movement such as Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, and Jess Collins began using the term "concrete poetry" to describe their own work. This term became widely known after it was adopted by the editors of a seminal anthology of American concrete poetry titled Concrete Poetry (1966).
The word was coined in the early 1950s by European artists Max Bill and Oyving Fahlstrom, and its early methods were defined in the manifesto "Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry" by the Brazilian group Noigandres. Concrete poetry were designed to be abstract and without relation to a previous poem or...
Max Bill was a German artist who created realistic images that could only be seen under certain conditions, such as water or oil. He also invented the concept of virtual painting, which allows viewers to paint pictures with a computer mouse instead of their hands.
Oyving Fahlström was a Swedish artist who used concrete poetry to express his views on society. He traveled widely and lived in many different countries including Brazil, Switzerland, and Germany. He died at age 44 when he crashed his car while driving back from a party at night.
Noigandres was a Brazilian group that included poets, musicians, painters, and sculptors who wanted to create their own form of art. They first met in 1949 and between then and 1951 they produced several exhibitions together with other groups. Their most famous work is the manifesto "Piloto Plano de Arte Cênica" (in English: "Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry") published in the magazine Papirus in 1952. This document introduced the idea of using words as art materials and described various methods for making concrete poems.
Concrete poetry, sometimes known as "form poetry," is poetry whose visual aspect corresponds to the content of the poem. The words make forms that convey the theme of the poem both visually and literally. Many concrete poets also work in other media, such as photography or painting, which can enhance their poems' impact.
Consequently, concrete poetry is different from traditional poetry in many ways. First, although some concrete poets do use formal structures such as sonnets or villanelles, most do not. Second, rather than trying to imitate the sounds of spoken language, many concrete poets use abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and other non-words to create new words and phrases that often have unusual meanings. For example, a common concrete poem consists entirely of capital letters; thus, it would be called a "capital poem." Some concrete poets may choose to explain what each part of their poem does, but this is not necessary. Finally, unlike traditional poetry, which tends to follow a linear structure, some concrete poets include maps, diagrams, and other illustrations that cannot be interpreted linearly. For example, one concrete poet might write about the feeling of love by using lines on a graph to show how feelings change over time.
Many concrete poets are artists who use language as a tool for exploring ideas and concepts related to art.
Concrete poetry, also known as shape poetry, is a genre of poetry that employs some form of visual display to increase the poem's impact on the reader. While the words, writing style, and literary techniques all have an influence on the content of the poem, the physical shape of the poem is as important. The term "concrete" was originally used by Canadian poet Leonard Cohen to describe his own work, but it has since become popular among poets who use language that is direct and unadorned.
Shape poems can be as simple as a line drawing or as complex as an installation. They often employ typography, sculpture, photography, or collage as their main forms of expression. Although many concrete poets work in traditional forms such as the sonnet, others use longer poems or sequences of multiple parts which are linked by common characters, themes, or imagery. Most concrete poets print their works themselves using photo-typesetting programs like Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature. Some print their works with low-cost commercial printers while others hire artists to create illustrations for them.
Many concrete poets are associated with specific movements or schools, including the Language Poets, Dadaists, and Conceptual Artists. Others such as James Broughton and Lyn Hejinian were not associated with any particular movement but are still considered influential in the development of this genre of poetry.
Concrete poetry first came into popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.