Concrete Poem

It's ears look kind of awkwardly placed...

Black and White

-EDIT: despite being more of an artist than a writer, this concrete poem has generated a LOT of traffic towards my blog. I suppose people searching for concrete poems seem to enjoy mine very much and it has now been floating around the top of the google searches for “concrete poem.” Never have I ever been more sad that I did not credit my own name at the bottom of the poem. For those of you who are reading this but do not frequent my blog, Hello! My name is Jason Lin and I am the author of this concrete poem. Feel free to read my About Me page or see other projects I have done. If you are looking for more concrete poems, I am sorry to disappoint, but this is my only one.-

This is a poem I had to write for my AP english class. The assignment was to create a concrete poem where the actual shape of the poem also contributes to the poem’s meaning. So, naturally, I wanted to decide my picture first and then write/shape the poem afterwards. I ended up wanting to use an animal for certain. I wanted a challenge, or something really complex. I decided to choose animals that were naturally black and white because then I could shape the animal fully instead of dividing their colors into two separate black and whites. My first thought was. Zebra. A zebra sounded really cool. The only problem was the size of the stripes. When I looked up “zebra type,” someone had already created a zebra typography thing on the internet. I thought it was really amazing and I figured I could pull of something similar.

I couldn’t.

The stripes narrowed down too much. Unlike any other typography portrait or picture, all of my words had to be legible. So I had to choose a different animal. I needed something with larger black and white areas. My next idea. Panda. The panda was fairly simple. I didn’t really bother using microsoft word to try and add in all of the spaces and try to get everything to fit. I ended up using an image editting software so I could just trace over an image of a panda and figure out where all of my boundaries are. I thought this was a really fun assigment because I actually got to try some typography stuff. My poem ended up being about “black and white” or the fact that people are always so far on the sides of the extremes. I always feel pressured to pick one side in life when it comes to things. I can’t ever be stuck in between. or a “fence-sitter.” The truth is, I often like parts of both sides so I can’t  just pick one side. I have. follow the “middle path.” (haha. English class joke.)

35 thoughts on “Concrete Poem

  1. Jason,

    You’ve done a lovely job with this piece, especially a concrete poem using the white spaces, to show your image. I enjoyed the poem as well. I ‘m presently working on a piece that uses both the white spaces and the black lettering to show two images in one, but it’s rather large and not finished yet. I would love to feature this piece on my blog if that’s okay. I could credit you and leave a link back to your site. Please let me know if you’re interested. Here’s my webpage so you can see what I do:

    http://eckovision.wordpress.com

    -John

  2. I am doing a poetry project and I have to find some different types of poems and I am definitely going to use this one because it looks really nice and it looks like you worked very hard on it.

  3. This was thought provoking. I was looking for an example of a concrete poem. I’m sorry if i couldn’t ask permission ahead but I plan to use this as an example for a presentation. Of course, i’ll cite you properly. Keep it up! This was awesome :)

    • Thanks for reading! I never imagined my own AP English assignment would make its way into other AP English curriculums! haha if you don’t mind me asking, where are you from? What school?

  4. Jason, I recently found your EDIT response to your concrete poem, and I wanted to let you know that though you didn’t give credit to yourself with a signature on the page, I did indeed search to discover who created the work. I am part of a team of teachers working in our high school’s Fine Arts Academy and I incorporate your piece in my Shape lesson for creative writing. In the academy, I work with students in the discipline of visual art, theatre, music (instrumental and choral), dance, and creative writing. Your work helps me point out how two disciplines can merge to create a meaningful work of art. I also provide my students a link to your site. I encourage them to explore your website because you not only work in many mediums, but because you take the time to explain your process. It is confirmation for my students that, indeed, the things we are asking of them are applicable to the real world, and that creativity has no limits. The fact that you did this in AP English only lends credibility to the fact that they too can create powerful pieces while in high school, but that it takes work, not just inspiration or vision. Thanks again.

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for taking the time to write out to me! Thank you for taking the effort to discover the author! haha. You are what saves artists like me. I am so happy to hear that this poem I wrote so long ago is being taught in schools around the world! The fine arts academy sounds amazing; I would love to be able to see the kind of work you guys do (and maybe even visit one day!?) I definitely believe strongly in multidisciplinary and crossdisciplinary types of art work. I’m often merging photography, sculpture, design with less “creative” fields like computer science, biology, etc. I have not been keeping this blog as up to date as I used to in high school, but it makes me so incredibly happy to hear that there are teachers like you sharing my work.

      The world always needs more great teachers in the arts. Thank YOU!

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