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

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Play to your heart’s content.

The act of writing an experimental or visual poem is limited only by your imagination. You can spin or form your words; write them up, down, or circled around the page; draw pictures; and play with the lettering to your heart’s content. The only rule of thumb, if it can even be called such, is to remember that visual poetry combines what you see and feel inside with the words you put on the page. Sometimes, your experience will be so graphic and visual that you’ll find the poem to be very sparse in word count, but loaded with eye-catching features.

In order to try visual poetry, work with one of two forms that do rely on words: concrete poetry and Fibonacci poetry.

Depict shape and movement.

In concrete poetry, use indenting, word placement, and visualization to depict the shape or central movement of the subject. Let’s take a simple subject.

as a way
to get in
good shape
But I became fascinated by climbing back into racing and I started running up
and down hillsides and meadows, imagining myself matching strides with the
deer and raccoons who ran the ridges in the crisp sunlit incoming spring air,
and an
thing hap-
pened: It
became not
about con-
ditioning or
but a way
to measure
the victory
of life
returning to
my soul.

This poem approximates the finish-line tape of a victorious race. When the runner hits the tape, you can only see his or her head and neck, the tape, and the lead leg, since the tape is set at upper chest level and the trailing leg is out of view.