Visual Poetry Project
Visual poetry is literary verse written on the page with intentional form to add meaning to the poem. The form may take on a recognizable shape, or may use a free formed pattern to create a new rhythm when reading the poem out loud.
Visual poetry is literary verse written on the page with intentional form to add meaning to the poem. The form may take on a recognizable shape, or may use a free formed pattern to create a new rhythm when reading the poem out loud. These shapes and rhythms are typically tied to the central ideas and themes contained within the poems, and often se Take the poem "Constantly Risking Absurdity (No. 15)" from his first book of poetry, 1958's A Coney Island of the Mind:
While altar and pattern poetry found several practitioners in ancient cultures, such as Persia and Greece, they didn’t appear again in the Western world until the 16th century, when English, French, and German Renaissance poets started writing and printing their poems to specific shapes and patterns. George Herbert wrote Easter Wings and the shape replicates angels wings — classic altar poetry.
Easter Wings talks of the sinful fall of man from God's favor, and asks that he be allowed to fly like a bird and sing of God's victories. The first half of both stanzas of the poem narrows with each line, and lengthens again in the second half so that the overall shape of the verses resembles a pair of wings. They can be birds wings or angels wings.
Easter Wings is one of George Herbert's most famous poems not just because it's shape , but also because it explains in simple and moving language some of the most complex ideas in all of Christian thought. By giving visual structure to his content, Herbert lifts poetry into a multimedia experience that engages both the brain and the eyes. He wrote it in the 17th century.
Easter Wings BY GEORGE HERBERT
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne
And still with sicknesses and shame.
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Let me combine,
And feel thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.