Tag Archives: picture poems

A challenge: making pictures on the page with words


For a long time I have been doing picture poems (they do have other names) and I often show  the big ones I have done and my sketchbook when I visit schools. Some of them are going to be in my new book, The Letterbox Cat and other poems which Scholastic is publishing next year. So I am very excited about that and will keep those ones as a surprise (On Wednesday I will show you some of my others though).

I challenge you to do a picture poem. I can take a screen shot if you email it. If you can’t do it on the computer you can post to PO Box 95078 Swanson Waitakere 0653. Or email to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email address if you like. I have some surprise prizes for my favourite poems. They need to be to me by Thursday 28th November.

In the 1950s, some Brazilian poets started making Concrete Poems. These were poems where the way the words looked on the page was just as important as how the words sounded or what they meant. Then Concrete Poetry went on a big adventure all round the world. Sometimes it was as though the poets were using words to make a picture on the page. So some people also started calling it Shape Poetry. Mostly words were used but sometimes poets added a few lines of drawing.

People have making shape poems for hundreds of years though. Here is a very famous poem by George Herbert. This was done in 1633 and is called ‘Easter Wings.’ If you look at the shape you can see it is like a bird flying.


I call my poems picture poems as sometimes I draw as much as I use words. I always want a picture to appear on the page but it can be made up of a mix of things. The one at the top here is called ‘Elephant’ and you get to read all the different parts of the animal. Sometimes when I am in schools I get everyone reading different bits of that poem at the same time. It is fun. Here is a page from my sketchbook where the poem is mostly words. It is not finished but I was trying to make pyramid poems.