This is not meant as a complete guide to
concrete poetry, but merely a short introduction. This was
originally collected after teaching the subject briefly at the
Arab University of Cairo.
Basically, concrete poetry is poem as picture or solid
construction. Poets of the past have played with the idea of
making poems in the shape of something. A poem about a
butterfly is set out on the page in the shape of a butterfly.
One of the most interesting developments of this type of
writing was the publication during the first world war of a
book of visual poems by Guillaume Apollinaire called Calligrammes.
Here is one of the poems from that collection:
Perhaps his most famous
poem from Calligrammes
was the poem about rain, which he wrote in the form of rain
falling to the ground:
You will find that I have taken this one stage further and
written a similar work as an animation.
Concrete poetry became all
the rage during the 1960s. One of the more interesting poets
using the style was Ian Hamilton Finlay, who went on to create
his poems as objects which he placed in his garden in
Here is one of my early concrete poems dating from 1971: