https:// poetscollective.org/poetryforms/pictorial/

Pictorial poetry. The Pictorial, created by Emily Romano is a type of shape poem, where the entire poem must be printed in slanting lines indicative of the thought in those lines. The poem should consist of three lines with five words or less per line. There should be rhyme somewhere in the poem, either end rhyme or internal rhyme. 30 Jan 2015

Example #2:

Poetry - Grade 3 - 4 Bicheno Primary School

2. What are picture poems called?

Concrete poetry — sometimes also called ‘shape poetry‘ — is poetry whose visual appearance matches the topic of the poem. The words form shapes which illustrate the poem’s subject as a picture, as well as through their literal meaning.


https:// poetry4kids.com/lessons/how-to-write-a-concrete-poem

How to Write a Concrete Poem

What is a Concrete Poem?

Concrete poetry—sometimes also called ‘shape poetry’—is poetry whose visual appearance matches the topic of the poem. The words form shapes which illustrate the poem’s subject as a picture, as well as through their literal meaning.

This type of poetry has been used for thousands of years, since the ancient Greeks began to enhance the meanings of their poetry by arranging their characters in visually pleasing ways back in the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC.

A famous example is “The Mouse’s Tale from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  The shape of the poem is a pun on the word tale/tail, as the words follow a long wiggling line getting smaller and smaller and ending in a point.

The name “Concrete Poetry,” however, is from the 1950’s, when a group of Brazilian poets called the Noigandres held an international exhibition of their work, and then developed a “manifesto” to define the style.

The manifesto states that concrete poetry ‘communicates its own structure: structure = content

There are 2 main ways that this can be achieved…

Outline Poems

A common way to make the visual structure reflect the subject of the poem is to fill an outline shape that relates to the topic of the poem, in the same way that Carroll’s poem fits the outline of a mouse’s tail.

Here is an example about a snowman:

Concrete Poetry
  • Choose an object to be the subject for your poem.  Good suggestions for beginners could be favorite animals or favorite foods.
  • Draw a simple outline of its shape on paper or on the computer.  If you’re using paper, draw with a pencil not a pen.
  • Write your poem normally.  Try to describe how the subject makes you feel.  The words will be fitted into your drawing, so don’t make it too long – between 6-12 lines is probably a good length!


  • Lightly in pencil, or on the computer, write your poem into the shape.  It’s ok if it doesn’t fit properly yet, because this is where you find out if you need to make the writing larger or smaller.
  • Decide if you need to make your writing bigger or smaller in certain parts of the drawing,  then erase your first draft and write out the poem again.  You can keep doing this until you are happy.
  • Finally, erase the outline of your shape, so that it is just the words from your poem left creating the image!  If you were writing in pencil, you can now go over the words in pen!
  • (In my example I added the ‘brrr…’s afterwards to make the picture look better, but without interrupting the story of the poem.  If you want to try details like this, think of comic-book-style effect words like ‘flash’, ‘purr’, ‘phew’ or ‘zzzz…’ to add another element to the story-picture!)

Drawing Poems

Another way to make concrete poetry is to use the lines of words to make the lines of a drawing.  The NASA website has a great example about the first ever airplanes if you click here.

This time, the subject doesn’t have to be an object, but it does have to be something you can draw an illustration of using ‘stick’ figures.

This is my example of ‘growing’:

Concrete Poetry
  • Choose your subject
  • Draw a simple line – or ‘stick’ – drawing to illustrate your subject on paper or on the computer.  If you’re using paper, draw with a pencil not a pen.
  • Write your poem normally.  Simple is best, so stick to between 2-6 lines.


  • Lightly in pencil, or on the computer, write the lines of your poem along the lines of your drawing – remember that we normally read from left to right, and from top to bottom!
  • If you don’t have enough words, or have some left over, don’t worry!  Decide where you need to make your writing bigger or smaller to make it all fit, then erase your first draft and write out the poem again over your line drawing.  You can keep doing this until you are happy.
  • Finally, erase the line drawing, so that it is just the words from your poem left creating the image! (If you were writing in pencil, go over the writing in pen first.)

(In my example I wanted to add branches to the tree, so used repeated words from my poem to highlight the theme, and make the picture better.  If you want to add details like this, think about what the most important word is in your poem and use the one that best sums up its message!)

4. Research Paper on Pictorial Poetry


By Camelia Florescu – Romania


Visual poetry can be difened basically as poetry that is meant to be seen. Although it assumes a great many forms, it inevitably possesses a pictorial as well as a verbal aspect. Combining poetry and painting (photos), presupposes a viewer and a reader as well. How a composition looks, therefore, it is important as what it says. Words no longer serve as simple notational devices but as building blocks in a visual edifice. Known to the Greeks as technopaigeneia and to the Romans as carmina figurata, visual poetry possesses a lengthy and fascinating history. During the Renaissance, the genre experienced a widespread revival, but it was largely neglected thereafter untill the begining of the twentieth century, when it experienced a dramatic rebirth. Intrigued by its seemingly endless possibilities, poets and painters have experimented with visual poetry ever since.


I truly believe the poetry is not only for your listening pleasure, but also your viewing pleasure. It urges you to think about what has been left out, what has been included, and in some cases repeated or emphasized, and what the author (or curator) may want you to take away from that. It’s much more interactive that classic, or conventional poetry, because there is more left to the imagination, and even more up for interpretation.

Visual design is more closely related to graphic design, and it doesn’t have as much of a poetic element. Although, as human beings, we are inclined to search for meaning in everything, visual design is more for the sake of the design than it is the poem. Visual poetry is explicitly left up for interpretation, whereas visual design is meant to take on the specific form.

I would describe poetry and visual art as two hands that bring together the artist’s only heart through thrill, emotion, sensitivity. It seems almost astounding to me how this union and symbiosis has delayed so much and did not pounce in our lives much earlier. As long as the pioneers of visual poetry have gone their way and have done their “job” since early times, the natural union that has led to what we call visual poetry today has, in my view, exploded late. Or perhaps it was only permitted by the Creator that things should grow slowly but surely and every step of mankind in this field will be solid and secure so that what we read, see, listen to today, to return, to play back with naturalness but firmness, the emotion in its purest condition.

The evolution in British pictorial poetry

William Blake was revealed to us by Northrop Frye in one journal article of his. The ability to paint and the ability to write have been often belonged to the same person; but it is rare to find them equally developed. Most people so gifted have been either writers who have made a hobby in painting, like D.H.Lawrence, or painters who have made a hobby of writing, like Wyndham Lewis. It is not uncommon for poets who can draw to illustrate their poems, like Eduard Lear, nor is it uncommon for painters who can write to provide inscriptions to their paintings, like Rosetti. Besides being a poet and painter, William Blake was a professional engraver and a tireless and versatile experimenter in a great variety of media. I consider him as a pioneer of mixing arts and talents. Later, poets were using photos to exemplify their poems, even they were not able to draw or paint as William Blake.

Mary Ellen Scot, In her survey, Concrete Poetry- A World View (1968), observed that certain trends included under the label Concrete Poetry were tending towards a “New Visual Poetry”.

Its main characteristic is that it leaves behind the old poetic function of orality and is therefore distinct from the ancient tradition of shaped poetry from which Concrete Poetry claimed to have derived. Visual poetry, on the other hand, is to be distinguished by its deployment of typography. Therefor, Mary Ellen Scot included in her proposed new genre, the work of John Furnival ( British drawer ), Ian Hamilton Finlay (Scottish poet), and John Furnival. As those last two ones, together with dom Sylvester Houédard, Henri Chopin and Tom Phillips, developed the practice of (minimalistic) Concrete Poetry to (maximalistic) Visual Poetry, I would say, all those could be considered pioneers of visual art.

What Mary Ellen Scot defined in her survey, was extended later on, by Marvin  Sackner in his introduction to the Ohio State University 2008 collection of Visual Poetry: “I define concrete poems as those in which only letters and/or words are utilized to form a visual image, whereas visual poems constitute those in which images are integrated into the text of the poem”.

The evolution in chinese pictorial poetry

The history of image of Chinese poetry sees three stages in its development, from the use of descriptive, metaphorical and emotive expressions, to the creation of pictorial image and figurative image. It was really the artistic characteristic of the poetry in the Tang Dynasty represented by Wang Wei to make the poems full of mental pictures. The poems of Wang Wei(701-761), a Thang dynasty (618-907) poet who has long been hailed as the “Buddha of Poetry”, were often divided into two types : one religious or devotional type of poems and second one, mainly about nature, in which the philosophical meaning lies much farther below the surface .

Shu Shih , the Chinese poet (1036-1101) transformed the pictorial image in Wang Wei’s poems by extending it to become the figurative one. With his work and Huang T’ing-chien (1045-1105) work as well, the practice of writing poetry on paintings acquired new stature in the mid-eleventh century.

In modern writing on Chinese pictorial art, the term “narrative illustration” is loosely applied to a diverse array of works. It is necessary for the pictures to expound the story visually or may they simply evoke or refer to it, however cryptically. A significant portion of Chinese pictorial art consist of representations of stories and texts. Such pictures not only embody and express cultural ideals and values, as traditional and modern writers have repeatedly observed, pictures olso played a part in forming and disseminating social norms and authorities. However, narrative illustration was not conceived as a separate genre of painting (hua) in premodern histories or criticism. Instead, it has become an entity in the study of Chinese art largely and now become so naturalized that combinations xu shi hua and gu shi hua have been formulated as term meaning “narrative painting” by analogy with the terms xu shi shi and gu shi shi for “narrative poetry”.

The evolution in American pictorial poetry

Mr.Sethi Krishan Chand in his research paper on pictorial poetry, has brought to the readers of his essay’s attention, the work of two Americans, Kerri MacDonald(photographer ) and Morrigan McCarthy (photo editor) in one research they conduct about on how “poems inspire photography.” The article they published about their experiment describe all about their work in that summer and inspired other photographers to follow their path, working all together with poets and writers in this demarche.

Mixture of arts (poetry, music and photography)

Professor Mario Klarer, from University of Innsbruck, Austria, in his classic beginner’s guide to English literature makes a very beautiful synthesis of the need of mankind to leave behind its expression of creativity “Underlying literary production is certainly the human desire to leave behind a trace of oneself through creative expression, which will exist detached from the individual and, therefore, outlast its creator.” The earliest manifestations of this creative wish are prehistoric cave paintings, which pass on encrypted messages through visual signs. This visual component inevitably remains closely connected to literature throughout its various historical and social manifestations. Not only the visual – writing is always pictorial – but also the acoustic element, the spoken word, is an integral part of literature, as the alphabet translates spoken words into signs. Before writing developed as a system of signs, whether pictographs or alphabets, texts were passed on orally. But even classical literary genres such as ancient Greek poetry were – as its name “lyrical” poetry suggests – sung and accompanied by musical instruments, such as the lyre. Also, classical Greek drama contained large song-like parts, similar to the modern opera. Gradually, this acoustic dimension of texts lost momentum and gave way to non- hybrid formats that privilege pure text. This oral component, which runs counter to the modern way of thinking about texts, has been revived in the twentieth century through the medium of radio and other sound carriers. Audio-literature and the lyrics of songs still display the acoustic features of literary phenomena. While the Middle Ages highly privileged the visual component of writing in such forms as richly decorated handwritten manuscripts, the arrival of the modern age – along with the invention of the printing press – made the visual element disappear or reduced it to a few illustrations in the text. The medieval union of word and picture, in which both components of the text formed a single, harmonious entity, slowly disappeared. This modern iconoclasm (i.e., hostility toward pictures) not only restricts the visual dimensions of texts but also sees writing as a medium that can function with little connection to the acoustic element of language. It is only in drama that the union between the spoken word and visual expression survives in a traditional literary genre, although this feature is not always immediately noticeable. Drama, which we- traditionally and without hesitation – read as one of the major representatives of literature, combines acoustic and visual elements more than any other literary genre. Even more obviously than in drama, the symbiosis of word and image culminates in film. This young medium is particularly interesting for textual studies, since film records spoken words and pictures in a manner that is reminiscent of books, allowing multiple viewings or readings. A relatively recent phenomenon, which also amalgamates the verbal and the visual, is the graphic novel. In the past few decades, these comic-book-like narratives have received the attention of traditional literary scholars. Although the written medium is obviously the main concern in the study of literature or texts, this field of inquiry has opened to other areas of media, such as the stage, painting, film, music, or the Internet. On the one hand, visual and acoustic elements are being reintroduced into literature; on the other, literature mixes with other media, genres, text types, and discourses. In a sense, like a good book, a good novel is well written, eloquent, literary and grammatical, a director can transpose what the writer wanted to send us into a very good film in an exceptional movie, while a composer will add value with his music. Likewise, it was also in need of poetry to be slowly, step by step, dressed in pictures, in color, in sounds of music, on the move, to emphasize more the senses, the meanings, in a natural connection of the verse with the image and sound.

Advertising and marketing using poetry

It is well known lately the success the visual arts and poetry has to increase people’s awareness and recognition of emotions. – two keys components of emotional intelligence. Much of the writing in business is descriptive and analytical. Poetry writing is a form of creative expression that encourages to reflect on the experiences as consumers. The visual poetry start to be a preliminary evidence for success in marketing and advertising. While the consumer behavior and the way consumers communicate are heavily dependent on their cultural values, for advertising, one important distinction is between low-and high-context communication, which can help us understand that people categorize the world in different ways. Variations in inter-personal communication styles are reflected in advertising styles. Practice lately proved that visual (and more and more poetry) used as tools, made the difference in successful marketing.

Worldwide expressions for combined arts

The relationship between words and pictures in a pictorial book has been conceptualized in many different ways and theoretical traditions and disciplines worldwide.

According to many writers, the essence of the picture book is the way the text and the illustrations relate to each other; this relationship between the verbal and the visual texts is complicated and subtle. A variety of metaphors have been used to describe it.The Cech (1983 )writes of the “duet” between text and pictures. Philip Pullman ( British comic writer) utilizes the term “counterpoint”, while Ward and Fox (1984) refer to the “contrapunctual” relationship. Allan Ahlberg talks about the “antiphonal” effect of words and pictures. Walter Miller (1992), on the other hand, using scientific metaphor from writing about illustration, uses the idea of “interference” from wave theory, describing how two different wave patterns may combine to form a complex new pattern.

Moebius (1986) utilizes geological imagery to speak of the “plate tectonics” of text and illustrations. Perry Nodelman(1988) describes how the text and pictures “limit” each other, and uses literary terminology to describe the relation of text and pictures as one “irony”. While Barthes use the metaphor called “relaying”, Schwarcz (1982) conceive of two general categories of relationship between text and pictures what he calls “congruency” and “deviation”. Sometimes – he said- the illustrations complement the text by “running ahead of the text and pushing the action forward” (“congruency”), being in a perfect harmony. In “deviation “is when the illustrations tell a different story from the text (counterpoint he named it , using again a musical metaphor ). Golden describes many types of relations between text and pictures. The categories seem to be differentiated by how much “work” the illustrations do on the text in conveying meaning.

The text-picture relationship is not so much a matter of a balance of power as it is the way in which the text and pictures transact with each other, and transform each other.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary define the word “synergy” as “the production of two or more agents, substances, etc, of a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects”. In order to describe more precisely what actually happens internally, in our heads, as we relate verbal and visual signs, Lawrence R.Sipe, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Education, wrote a theory of text-picture relations that is based on the semiotic concept of “trans mediation” and it is described by him with this term of “synergy”. In a Pictorial Poetry therefore, both, the text(the poem) and the illustration (the picture) sequence would be incomplete without the other. They have a synergistic relationship.

What makes visual poetry so unique, after all, is the way in which the text and the design interact with each other. Reevaluating each one in the light of the other frequently reveals new connections between them. At the very least, it allows the reader to formulate a comprehensive interpretation. However, new insights often occur at this point that have an important bearing on the poem. In many cases, they prompt readers to modify an earlier interpretation.

Personal conclusion

As a poet, whenever my inspiration does not play against me, I am permeated by the poetic thunder and the words are dictated by my imagination and mind. My friends and acquaintances knowing me, are aware that being a professional music performer and poet, these two activities intertwine happily in my life. Recently, I discovered while achieving a first price in an international poetry contest in Galatone – Italy, one very talented couple revealing to me an inspirational visual poetry: Mrs and Mr Sethi from India. Here I am submitting my research paper on this combining art, between photography (paintings, drawings) and poetry, due to their invitation and illuminating idea of drafting a Research Binder on Pictorial Poetry.

I would say as a singer-poet, future belong to all these arts merging together in reaching people’s sensitivity for a better understanding of our audience.


* An introduction to Literary Studies-3rd edition – Mario Klarer

* What is Chinese Narrative Illustration – Julia K. Murray

* Poems on Paintings: Su Shih and Huang T’ing-chien – Ronald C.Egen

* Pictures and Visually in early modern China – Craig Clunas

* The chan interpretations of Wang Wei’s poetry – a critical review

* Reading visual poetry – Willara Bohn

* The literate in the age of Mass Media – Cameron Jack/ Emma Plattor

* You are looking at the World’s first 3D Concrete poetry – McLaughlin Frank

* Children’s Literature Association Series – www.upress.state.ms.us

* Research Paper on Pictorial Poetry – Sethi Krishan Chand – Authorpress


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Example: A Guard Dog

Animated Poetry:

Lihat di SINI.