Concrete Poetry

Concrete Poetry is the poetry where the graphic characteristics of the poem are as important as its words. It originated from the Concrete movement, that valued and incorporated geometrical elements in music and fine arts. Although we can find examples of concrete poetry throughout the ages, the movement known as Concrete Poetry started in Brazil during the 1950's. It is considered to have started in Brazil with the publication of the magazine "Noigrandes", by the brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos and Décio Pignatari, in 1952.

The main characteristic of the concrete poem is the use of graphical resources of the words without worrying with the traditional aestetics of beginning, middle and ending of a verse, hence being called object-poem. Although it has also been called visual poetry, there is some controversy if both are synonymous. Some groups defend that visual poetry is derived from concrete poetry, while others defend that visual poetry has evolved into something very distinct from concrete poetry. In 1958 a Brazilian Manifesto of the Concrete Poetry was published by the "Noigrandes" group. Among other things this manifest states:

Concrete poetry begins by assuming a total responsibility before language: accepting the premise of the historical idiom as the indispensable nucleus of communication, it refuses to absorb words as mere indifferent vehicles, without life, without personality without history — taboo-tombs in which convention insists on burying the idea. ( Wikipedia, Concrete Poetry )

Attributes of a concrete poem:

  • elimination of the verses
  • utilization of the empty spaces on the page as part of the poem
  • exploration of sound, visual and sematics of the words
  • decomposition of the words
  • multiple interpretations

Main Brazilian Concrete Poets

Augusto de Campos Haroldo de Campos Decio Pignatari Mario Chamie
Augusto de Campos
Born in São Paulo, in 1931, poet, translator, essayist, literary critic and music critic.
Haroldo de Campos
Born in São Paulo, in 1929, poet, translator, essayist, created a new concept in poetry and translations.
Décio Pignatari
Born in Jundiaí, SP in 1927, poet, essayist, translator, novelist, playwriter and professor.
Mário Chamie
Born in Cajobi, SP , in 1933, created the "praxis-poem"

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