13 responses

  1. Fan (I am one, you well know!) f—ing tas tic! Just the uplift I needed after yesterday’s loss of a day’s careful work for legislative testimony on energy planning when my computer suffered a massive lock- up, requiring a force quit, and I lost everything I’d gained since the night-before’s save. (When you’re buried as deep as I have been in this, I find it hard to remember to keep updating the saves.) Six hours since 6:00 AM and I’m back up to speed. Thanks for the word picture and a little bit of joy.


    • And thanks for making me laugh! I think that’s the most enthusiastic thumbs up I’ve ever gotten for a peom. :) And I’m truly sorry about your tech disaster. That sort of thing has happened to me too. :/


  2. Lovely and lyrical. A visual poem, or concrete poem. Never heard such an animal called an “instapoem.” Bravo! Best to Tracy, too.


    • Instapoetry is all the rage. I’m surprised you haven’t bumped into Rupi Kauer’s books here and there. She’s sold some two to three million and is the best selling poet currently in the bookstore. It’s a thing on Instagram. The establishment poets are none too happy about it, including our (Vermont’s) poet laureate who describes it as lacking in imagery, metaphor, irony, etc… To a degree, he’s right, but Kauer has sold millions of books and he has sold, maybe, two dozen? The reason why is something I’ve been meaning to write about. Technically speaking, you’re right. One could also call my little pièce de poética a shape poem, visual poem or concrete poem. :)


  3. Just one guy’s opinion but I would rule out ‘concrete poem’ as the call. The words carry with them hardness, heaviness, britt-ality, and abrasiveness . . . not at all what you accomplished, at least for me.


    • Well, all that concrete poetry means (to borrow from Wikipedia) is: “an arrangement of linguistic elements in which the typographical effect is more important in conveying meaning than verbal significance.”

      Strictly speaking, I don’t think the typographical effect in my poem (my instapoem) is more important than the notional or semantic content, so it’s probably not a “concrete poem”. I think you could call it a shape poem, and those go all the way back to Donne’s poetry (and maybe/probably before that but I’d have to look that up). :)


  4. Actually, Wikipedia’s definition works for me, Patrick. The problem I have is with the inappropriate connotations of the term being defined (i.e., what if Wikipedia defined sewage sludge as ‘equal amounts of red pigment and blue’ rather than ‘purple’ . . . Just sayin’ (Sheesh this is my third try at posting this. It kept getting rejected. Wikipedia police???)


    • Well, when you go using an analogy like that….

      For the sake of educating myself, here we go.

      Poetry Foundation (which has proven to be a less reliable source of information on poetry than Wikipedea), calls George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” a “Concrete Poem”. (Incidentally, it was Herbert I was thinking of rather than Donne.) Just because I live to have opinions about this stuff, I’d have to say that Wikipedia is right and Poetry Foundation is wrong. (You’d think that with a 200,000,000 dollar donation, Poetry Foundation could afford to get its poetry definitions right, but this is what happens when rank amateurs are given this kind of money.)

      The Princeton Encyclopedia defines the term as having originated in the 1950s and 60s and defines it as: “1.) each work defines its own form and is visually and, if possible, structurally original or even unique; 2.) the piece is without any major allusion to any previously existing poem; and 3.) the visual shape is wherever possible abstract, the words or letters within it behaving as ideograms. This dissociates the prototpyical c. poem from the feer-form visual poems of futurism and dada….” & etc.

      So… my poem is not a concrete poem and neither is George Herbert’s poem.

      According to Princeton, my poem is a subset of Visual Poems, since the appearance of Visual Poems can be either figurative or non-figurative. This means that any free verse that is arranged on the page by any means whatsoever is a visual poem: lineation, line-length, line-grouping, indentation, intra and interlineal white space, punctuation, capitalization, and size and style of type. Interesting that. I’ve almost said as much in earlier posts: That is, free verse doesn’t exist without visual presentation on the page. In other words, without it visual status, there’s nothing that separates free verse from prose.

      But more to the point, Princeton would consider my poem a Pattern Poem, Shaped Poem or Picture Poem, inasmuch as those are all a subset of Visual Poems. They define it as a “premodern verse in which the letters, words, or lines are arrayed visually to form recognizable shapes, usually the shapes of natural objects.”

      And that’s my poem.

      So, there we have it. :) My thanks to Dave Ceylon for bringing all this up.


    • I can’t help myself. It’s my inner pedant—a fussy rabbit in my brain. I have to tune her out when I’m around my teen-aged daughters. They lose patience with me. I love knowing about things, and about things that are about things and the reasons why things are the way they are. It’s the reason my blog is what it is. Nobody else wants to listen to me, so I’m forced to have my discussions with the world wide web. :)


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