Last week, we explored different ways of getting into a poem.
This week, I want us to start exploring the building blocks of poetry: the words and sounds. We will try a variety of different techniques that can all be combined in a wide array of forms (which we will explore more fully next week - and since I'm aware that formal poetry isn't for everyone, I'll have an alternate prompt each day next week).
But for this week, let's have fun exploring words!
(These are also known as concrete poems or "Winged Type," "pattern poems," and mostly especially lovely-descriptive of all, as "pictorial lyric" in this little essay by Edward Hirsch.)
Since shaped poetry is essentially images, I did an image search to show you some extreme(ly cool) examples. These get really complex! I love the ones that look like animals. (There's a poem in Alice and Wonderland that looks like a mouse's tail.)
My poem "these waves i ride" is a less complex shaped poem. The lines are written to look and feel like waves, but you might not get that on first read/ look - or if you're reading on a mobile device.
Since shaped poetry is heavily dependent on lines being exactly the way the are supposed to be, if you want to do a very complicated shape, it might be useful to write the poem out longhand (on paper). You can draw freehand or print out the shape you want to put the words into, for more complex shapes.
Or, the more digitally adept can use a drawing/text program, like Photoshop, Picasa or even an app, if you're on your mobile device and want to do a small poem (for iPhone the app Over might work and for android, I have a lot of fun playing with pixlr - which is also available for iOS).
Shaped poetry can be complex or simple, short or long -- there's a shape for everyone, so HAVE FUN writing today!
Remember: you can use the prompt today or let it marinate for awhile and write something else in the meantime. There is no wrong or right, only the work of writing.