Tentatively, Convenience's Reviews > Concrete Poetry: A World View

Concrete Poetry by Mary Ellen Solt
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

Yet another bk of Concrete Poetry. How many are there? Not many. This one has some color illustrations & more explanatory texts & manifestos than in the 2 other main ones I have. In my copy, pages 17 to 32 are upside-down & backwards. That seems like a binding error. I wonder if they're all like that? After some prefatory remarks concerning the widespread & somewhat ambiguous use of the term "Concrete Poetry", Solt, the editor, states that "there is a fundamental requirement which the various kinds of concrete poetry meet: concentration upon the physical material from which the poem or text is made."

That, in itself, seems to fail as a definition for me. The cover's poem has the word "FORSYTHIA" at its base w/ other words growing out of it that begin w/ the same letter that these words originate from. From these words come the beginning letter placed as if they're buds or flowers on a limb of the forsythia plant. It's not a very complicated poem, it's a simple picture poem. I like it just fine but is it really an example of "concentration upon the physical material from which the poem or text is made"? It seems to me that the poem is made from the physical materials of paper, ink, & paint. Maybe the pigment is made from a forsythia plant. I reckon it's possible that the pigment & the paper cd both have plant origins. My point is that Solt seems to be conflating what the words refer to w/ what they are physically.

That aside, I don't really care to nitpick here. It was just something to write. The bk's full of interesting pictures that create calculated relationships between words & images & that's something I totally enjoy. There's even the following Ronald Johnson piece that I'd forgotten about:


I made a window shade once that had that cut out of it. As the window shade went up or down, the eye level went up & down w/ it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 5, 2008 – Shelved
April 5, 2008 – Shelved as: poetry

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by John (new)

John Arnold I have a question:

How do you interpret Aram Saroyan's poem (which I would guess is the most famous example of concrete poetry)?


I will tell you my interpretation of it after you give me yours. I was surprised to even read that people had interpretations of it that differed from my own. The meaning is clear to me.

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