Thomas, and Francois Rabelais worked in the forms, with Thomas’ twelve-part devotional,"Vision and Prayer," the most famous 20th century example.
With the turn of the 20th century came a synthesis of altar and pattern poetry, namely theconcrete poetry movement. It was dually influenced by the growing presence of free-versewriters and artistic movements of Dada, Surrealism, and Futurism. Both sought the same goal: to portray words (or images) as accurate, multi-dimensional reflections of
existing intheir inner world. The most notable poet to twist and turn lines to suit the inner movement of hiswords was e.e. cummings, who breached all established rules of poesy – right down to spellinghis name in lower-case type. By 1925, cummings had turned traditional poetry on its head with poems like "O sweet spontaneous earth" and books like
Tulips and Chimneys
, sonamed for what he used to write and illustrate his poems – Charcoal, Ink, Oil, Pencil, andWatercolor. More than most committed poets, the ever-eccentric cummings bridged the ford between true poetry and experimental forms.
The concrete poem uses multimedia to produce each poem in a different shape and taste. A pureexercise in pictorial typography, concrete poems can be visually depicted on glass, stone, wood,or other materials. Guillaume Apollinaire’s
(1918) served as a forerunner of themovement, which Max Bill and Eugen Gomringer showcased to the world in a 1956 concrete artexhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Gomringer’s 1953
celebrated his view of concrete poetry as "a play area of fixed-dimensions." He used poems of very few words in simplestructural arrangements to convey powerful messages, such as his famous 1954 poem,"Silencio." His next two publications,
From Line to Constellation
, and the publication of Brazil’s landmark Noigandres group,
Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry
, establishedthe art/word form’s wide bounds. This came just in time for the 1960s, when Fleet Street,Haight-Ashbury, Peter Max, and numerous inner-city European experimental schools broughtout an explosion of concrete poetry.
Concrete poetry was so diverse in its expression that it branched into other forms, such asemergent poetry (cryptographic tricks with letters, such as the first letters of each line spellingout the title and theme of a poem), semiotic poetry (the exclusive use of symbols and images,such as Maurice Lemaitre’s 1950 masterpiece, "Riff Raff"), and kinetic poetry (showingmovement typographically, through stretched-out or narrowed lettering). Out of Germanyemerged a school specifically dedicated to concrete poetry,
. British poetsSimon Cutts, Stuart Mills, and especially Ian Hamilton Finlay took concrete poetry into realms beyond syntax and grammar. Poets also created works that mixed visual, sound, and written poetry, most specifically France’s Lettrist movement, from which a 1950 masterpiece emerged – Pierre Albert-Birot’s
Poesie de mot inconnus (Poetry of Unknown Words)
, which featured anengraving from Picasso.