Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Poetry Workshop: Getting in Shape with Concrete Poetry


First the grammar lesson, and then the poetry workshop lesson.


A common noun is a noun referring to a person, place, or thing in a general sense. There are many types of nouns: common, proper, possessive, singular, abstract and concrete.

Concrete Nouns

A concrete noun names animate and inanimate things  that can be perceived through the five senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, or smell. Examples are: cats, doors, waffles, teachers. A concrete noun is the opposite of an abstract noun such as concepts like: love, liberty, courage.


With the basic noun lesson understood, let’s move on to the Poetry Workshop: Concrete Poetry.

Concrete Poetry: aka Shape Poetry aka Visual Poetry

Poetry in which the overall effect is influenced through visual means by forming or arranging the words in a pattern that reflects the subject or meaning.

The concrete aspect comes from basing the poem on tangible nouns, ones in which employ the senses, as opposed to abstract nouns.  For instance, I can write about how cats see us, but are often invisible as they hide in plain view or I can emphasize the cat aspect by shaping the words around this concrete noun:


Sometimes the poem and its shape is humorous:



And sometimes it is more art than actual words:




Other times there is a message within the message that turns out to be abstract after all:


concrete poem by jennifer Phillips

For the most part, concrete poetry is a visual blending of text and shape.  It’s an interactive expression, a melding and mixing of art, thought, feeling. Get into poetry by getting into shape.

Explore more with forming!



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7 thoughts on “Poetry Workshop: Getting in Shape with Concrete Poetry

  1. Gede Prama on said:

    article is quite interesting and hopefully true happiness rays began to warm the hearts of us all, when we can share it with sincerity. Greetings from Gede Prama 🙂

  2. that was really fun. and i may have learned something by accident.

  3. Most everyone I know gives a positive response to concrete poetry. I find that it’s a great way to pull reluctant poetry readers into the world of language and form. Great post!

  4. Appropriate posts for Poetry Month! Makes me want to pull my concrete poetry books off the shelf and turn then into a project. Thank you for liking my blog post.

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