Curriculum Connections

Connecting Your Safari to the Curriculum: Art - Page 2

Concrete Poems: Concrete poems are poems that convey an image (or images) through the placement of the words on the page. The image may represent the subject itself, a physical characteristic of the subject or any other image or concept that might be associated with the subject.

Using the Index of Concrete Poems
, examine a number of the poems on this site which convey an image or images by the way the words appear on the page. Focusing on specific poems, discuss with students other ways the poet might have put the words on the page to convey a different image associated with the animal or the theme of a poem. Next, look at some of the poems on the site that are not concrete poems and discuss with students how the author might have turned them into concrete poems. Make sure students consider the practical implications of applying their ideas: i.e. 'Would there be enough room on the page?' 'How big or small would I have to make the letters?' 'Would the poem be readable?'

is a fun place to begin your examination of the concrete poems on this site. It  is written in the shape of a diamond, the central image of the poem. Or wait, maybe that diamond is actually (Watch out!) two teeth, one pointing up and one pointing down; or it's a tooth reflected in the water. The poem itself (like the image on the page) is symmetrical, with the opening two lines reflected in the closing two lines.

Sometimes concrete poems are a little tricky. Punda Milia might not appear to be a concrete poem at first; but the lines are written so they are all nearly the same length and a bold font is used. With white spaces in-between, the lines are meant to represent the black stripes of the zebra.


Some of the poems on this site also use color to convey a hint of imagery. Again see the Index of Concrete Poems
. Visit these poems and ask students to consider why certain background and font colors were used. Duma, for example, is black on yellow. Any clue which animal it might be? Again, discuss what other colors might have been used effectively in these poems - and in the poems that are black on white.

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