A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...

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Visual poetry uses the page as a canvas to visually represent the themes, subjects, or sentiments of words in a variety of shapes and forms.

The beauty of the visual format lies in the poet’s ability to mark, prescribe, or record process; the replication of shape; or the simulation of movement. It can also present the material in a way that leads to other meanings or implications that aren’t reflected in the words themselves. As Johanna Drucker notes in her book, Figuring the Word, the page serves "as a vocal score of tone or personality."

Rhyme: Principally non-rhyming
Structure: Varied; often visually represents the theme or subject of the poem
Measure/Beat: Varied
Common Themes: Artistic, nature, seasons, relationships
Other Notes:
  • Key historical types are altar, concrete, and pattern
  • No rules on meter
  • Line lengths dependent on shape of poem