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Bob Holman & Margery Snyder

Concrete Poetry Comes Alive Online

By December 19, 2013

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Guillaume Apollinaire’s “Il Pleut” (“It’s Raining”) is among the most famous of concrete or “shaped” poems. We like to call this kind of visual poetry “VisPo”—he called them “Calligrammes.” Now, in the age of YouTube and digital animation, concrete poetry has become something more than the typographical arrangement of words on a static two-dimensional page—it has come to life, crossing through the temporal dimension as the letters spring into motion. A few years ago Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino and Mary Ann Sullivan recast Apollinaire’s poem in a digital rendition that is quite lovely. There are a number of other poetry films based on “Il Pleut” at YouTube—two of the best are from Milan Polytechnic:

The addition of movement and sound to the concrete poems of 100 years ago is just the beginning of concrete poetry animation. Visit Dave Bonta’s Moving Poems videopoem archive to see a great collection of animated concrete poems.

Our Concrete Poetry anthology is static and pale in comparison with the new poetry films, but we do plan to post an expanded edition, and we are still reviewing contributions. A reminder if you wish to submit a concrete poem for consideration: Our poem submission form will not transmit the shape of your concrete poem. If you are sending us a shaped poem, please use the submission form to give us your name, your email address, the title of the poem you are sending, a brief description, and the permission we need before we can post anything—then send the poem separately by email to poetry@aboutguide.com, either typed in the body of the message, or as an attached MSWord document or jpeg file. (You must alert us to your contribution in advance and give your permission to post it via the submission form, or we will not open your email attachment.)

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