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How to Write: Concrete Poem

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One of the more underrated forms of poetry, concrete poems, are also known as shape poems. Here’s an example of a concrete poem (you’ll see for yourself why it’s called that!.

To be clear, concrete poems are shaped in a meaningful way; the words of the poem are placed in order to form some kind of a pattern or image. Often, the image that the words depict represents the topic, symbolism, or theme of the poem itself. In this way, concrete poems are a great way to integrate the visual and literary aspects of poetry into a cohesive piece.

The cover for one of our books, At First Glance, is similar in many ways to a concrete poem. The talented cover designer made careful choices about both the image and the words to reflect the genre of the stories in the book: dystopic fiction.   

Feeling inspired? Here are a few considerations to think about before—and while—you write your own concrete poem:

  • What is the topic of your poem?
  • What words, ideas, images, stories or feelings do you associate with this topic?
  • Will your poem be rhyming?
  • What kind of emotional response are you trying to elicit from the reader? How does this influence your word choice and metre?
  • How will your poem be shaped—that is, what will the image look like? How can the words and the image work together? 

We suggest you choose a topic and experiment with different combinations of words and images. You may be surprised by what you create through this exercise of "variations on a theme" and by which variations you ultimately feel are most effective.