Concrete poetry is a type of poetry in which the words of a poem are given a visual representation in the shape of the poem itself.
Concrete poetry is a type of poetry in which the words of a poem are given a visual representation in the shape of the poem itself. The visual shapes of the poems are just as important in conveying the intended effect as the poem’s content, such as meaning, words, rhythm, rhyme, etc. The term “concrete poetry” was coined in the 1950s by Brazilian poets and its principle tenet is that using words as part of a specific visual work allows for the words themselves to become part of the poetry, rather than just unseen vehicles for ideas. Concrete poems have been created based on the shapes of stars, cats, apples, trees, candles, faces, and many other shapes. The words or content that create each shape align with the shape itself. For example, the shape of an airplane is created with associated content, ascending into the sky. The words that make the airplane outline state, “a flick, a shudder to soar, a push–the nose, the wings held high and steady–the plane is ready to touch the sky.”
As our textbook mentions, poetry can foster creativity. Concrete poetry is particularly effective in early childhood education because it merges the two most important elements of children’s literature: content/narrative and illustration.
Your assignment in this module is to send home a concrete poetry assignment (including directions and a sample poem) for your early childhood classroom. In this mock assignment, the student and his/her parent/guardian will create a concrete poem using/tracing the outline of one of each of their hands. The child and family member must describe how they use their hands, what they like about their hands, and/or why hands are important. Once you complete your directions to send home with a child and your sample hand poem to be attached to these directions, you will ask a friend/family member (preferably one with a child) to complete the second page as if they were your student and parent. Then, you will scan both pages and attach them online for grade submission. Have fun and be creative!
Please review the following templates for this assignment; each template is numbered. You may use these templates as your own documents or create something similar.
Download Concrete Poetry Pages 1–2Download Concrete Poetry Pages 1–2
Download Concrete Poetry Page 3Download Concrete Poetry Page 3
You may also wish to print the assignment instructions:
On page 1, clearly type or hand write directions to the parents and students, defining concrete poetry and outlining the project (stay positive, write in letter format, and write clearly on half of the horizontal page). Also, you may use phrases from the description above or below when defining concrete poetry in your directions.
On page 2, create a sample “hand poem” that you have completed with the outline of your own hand on the other half of the horizontal page. You may write and/or draw inside your hand, around the edges, in the fingers, etc. It may rhyme or not. There are no limits with concrete poetry! Be creative so you will inspire the student and his/her parent to be creative!
Page 3 will be a completed set of “hand poems” by a parent/guardian and child. Please prep the horizontal space for the parent/guardian as if you would really send this home by labeling the spaces, drawing a line down the center, etc. Although this may be a friend and his/her child, please imagine this is your student and his/her parent/guardian.
Upload both complete documents.
Evaluation: After completing the assignment, evaluate and consider how you did. If you were to use this assignment in an early childhood education classroom, how would you alter or change it? What did not work so well?