Form Poetry: Playing with Perception

Memory is spatial, based on the enviornment. That’s why you go into a room to do something, forget what you were doing, go back, and remember what you were doing. Just like the Feng Shui principle, memories are connected to things and places.  The spatial memory is also why switching phones is so hard; you get used to “going through” specific menus, left, right, “though”, up, down, until your mind makes a 3-D map of your phone’s menus. When you switch, it’s like changing houses, so you have to go a  completely different direction to go where you want to or look in a different drawer.

This aspect of memory can be toyed with through form poetry, which I just mentioned in Form Poetry: Real Poetry, Or A Form of Poetry? Real form poetry, poetry in a form, a shape, what’s also called concrete poetry, or poetry that brings you on a journey. Heck, the atmosphere of an entire book or written material can be changed just by messing with the font and page format! And poets know this. That’s what form poetry does; it shapes the words into something interesting for the eye, something unlike the conventional block of words that moves left to right.  Many poets look for words for aesthetic reasons, not because of the meaning (hey, sometimes “a wet towel” just sounds or looks better than “a sodden blue towel”, okay?) Just as an example, here’s a “wave” poem:

…………………….up      and                               and     angry                       wanting   to

……………slides       down,                  choppy            at                  world,          erode                  to

………blue                                 so                                            the                                              it

cool                                                                                                                                                                         nothing.

Now, see how that looks? (No, not the periods. That’s to add space to the words) It brings the eye up and down, making you nearly feel the waves. Try this:

…………………….cool blue                                           slides up                            and down,

……………so         choppy                          and             angry                     at            the                it

………world,                          wanting                                           to                                      erode

to                                                                                                                                                             nothing.

Different, isn’t it? It took you awhile to figure out where the beginning was, right? Although they’re the same shape, they invoke different feelings, but both are still different from this one:

Cool blue

slides

up and

down, so

choppy and angry

at the world,

wanting to

erode it to

nothing.

Almost boring. Almost, though not quite. Anyway, now you know the beginning word of that poem, so we can’t play with that, but how about this:

……………………scarlet

…………………red

…..delicious          apple,

they are ripe just now, so why

.not try one, come on. Sweet,

tart, juicy, tasting just like

winter, spring,    summer

……..and              autumn

There are a thousand more different ways to present concrete poetry. There are a million ways to shape poetry, so many that you mi

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………ght begin to

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….fall

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..down

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………,

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………o

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………f

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………f

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………o

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………h

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………n

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………o

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..a                 t

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. l      s    p

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..you’vereachedthesolidgroundhowandcometoarevelationashardandunforgivingasconcrete:poetryispoetry

That’s a good example of what I mean by “the other kind of form poetry”. And whether it’s a form of poetry or real poetry, it certainly is interesting and fun to make. Now you know why, too.

–Aidyl

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