Poetic Favourites #5 – Concrete Poetry

As a teacher, one of the simplest ways of introducing poetry to elementary students is the concrete or shape poem. I’ve taught this style from grade 2 to grade 9. Kids like them because they’re fun. But as an adult, you’d be surprised at just how difficult and poignant these kinds of poems are.

Shape Poetry

John Hollander’s “Swan and Shadow”

“Swan and Shadow” may not have any actual punctuation but the use of the breaks between the neck and wings as well as the use of capital letters provide a clear rhythm readers can follow. It reminds me that we don’t hear the punctuation when we converse and this poem, to me, is a conversation that ebbs and flows just like the water this bird rests on and the ethereal nature of shadows, reflections, and our own swan songs…


Categories: Poetry

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