Unusual Poem Forms

Poetry comes in many forms, including unique visual forms. The books of poems in this list vary from acrostics to concrete and multi-voiced poems. Concrete poetry is also sometimes referred to as visual poetry. Try a few of these books out and then have fun making your own visual poems!

– Acrostics: The first letter of each line spells out a word or message.
– Concrete Poems: The shape of the poem is important to the poem.
– Macaronic verse: words in two or more languages are interspersed in the poem.
– Multi-voiced Poems: these are meant to be read aloud by multiple people. Each person has a separate part to read.

Burg, Brad.
Outside the Lines: Poetry at Play. 2002.
Here are twenty-two concrete poems in motion! When it comes to poetry, why shouldn’t words leave their sensible rows, like kids at recess, to run, jump and glide across the page? Follow the path of a Frisbee, paper airplane or firefly. Told in the voices of children, these concrete poems rhyme.
[Education S Collection Q. S.811 B91o]

Cleary, Brian P.
Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry. 2004.
An introduction to poetry that uses humorous poems, illustrations, and annotations to clarify terms and explain different types of poems, such as macaronic verse, concrete poems, and limericks. This book both contains and explains concrete poems.
[Center for Children’s Books S.808.1 C5807r]

Franco, Betsy.
Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails: Patterns & Shapes – Naturally. 2008.
Come explore the hidden shapes and patterns in nature. The peacock’s flashy tail is a masterpiece of color and shape. A buzzing beehive is built of tiny hexagons. Only one poem has a visual form: a spiral poem about a snail.
[Education S Collection S.811 F848b]

Franco, Betsy.
A Curious Collection of Cats. 2009.
The quirky ways of cats are exquisitely captured in more than thirty original visual poems. From acrobat-flipping to toilet-bowl-sipping, couch-scratching to dog-catching, this insightful collection celebrates the fickle feline in ways that any cat lover will appreciate.
[Center for Children’s Books S.811 F848c]

Franco, Betsy.
Mathematickles. 2003.
A collection of poems written in the form of mathematical problems and grouped according to seasonal themes. Follow a girl and her cat as they walk through the seasons and note the mathematical concepts illustrated around them.
[Education S Collection Q. S.811 F8483m]

Froman, Robert.
Seeing Things: A Book of Poems. 1974.
The words of these fifty-one brief poems are arranged on the pages in shapes appropriate to the subjects of the poems.
[Education Oak St Facility: Request Online]

Graham, Joan Bransfield.
Flicker Flash. 1999.
A collection of poems celebrating light in its various forms, from candles and lamps to lightning and fireflies.
[Education Storage S.811 G76f]

Graham, Joan Bransfield.
Splish Splash. 1994.
Presenting the many forms of water in concrete poems and graphic illustrations–including rain, snow, ocean waves, ice cubes, and tears. This books has some poems in the shapes they describe.
[Center for Children’s Books S.811 G76S]

Grandits, John.
Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems. 2007.
A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her funny, sarcastic take on high school life is revealed through concrete poetry: words, ideas, type, and design that combine to make pictures and patterns.
[Education S Collection S.811 G764b]

Grandits, John.
Technically, It’s Not My Fault: Concrete Poems. 2004.
An eleven-year-old boy named Robert uses shaped poems to muse over pizza, homework, thank-you notes, and his annoying older sister. In addition, he speculates about professional wrestling for animals and wonders why no one makes scratch-and-sniff fart stickers.
[Center for Children’s Books S.811 G764t]

Greene, Rhonda Gowler.
When a Line Bends… A Shape Begins. 1997.
Rhymed text describes how shapes are made from simple lines. Some of the verses appear on the page in the shapes they describe.
[Center for Children’s Books SE. G835w]

Harley, Avis.
African Acrostics: a Word in Edgewise. 2009.
These African animal acrostics take the acrostic form to a whole new level. Here you’ll find the elusive double acrostic (in which the first and last letters of each line spell a message), the cross acrostic (in which the message is read diagonally), and the multiple acrostic (see it to believe it).
[Education S Collection Q. S.811 H2272a]

Hopkins, Lee Bennett (compiler).
Incredible Inventions: Poems. 2009.
With sixteen original poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Julia Sarcone-Roach’s imaginative artwork, Incredible Inventions celebrates creativity that comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of the selections are concrete poems.
[Education S Collection Q. S.811 In217]

Janeczko, Paul B (compiler).
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. 2005.
In this splendid and playful volume, acclaimed poetry anthologist Paul B. Janeczko and Caldecott Honor illustrator Chris Raschka present lively examples of twenty-nine poetic forms, demonstrating not only the (sometimes bendable) rules of poetry, but also the spirit that brings these forms so wonderfully to life. Acrostic and concrete poems are included in this volume.
[Education S Collection S.811 K534]

Janeczko, Paul B (compiler).
A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems. 2001.
Even kids who don’t know they like poetry will love this playful, visually accessible collection of thirty concrete poems. The size and arrangement of words – or even just letters on the page can add or alter meaning, and poems can take the shape of crows and fly off the page.
[Education S Collection S.811.08 P7562001]

Lewis, J. Patrick.
Doodle Dandies: Poems that Take Shape. 1998.
Uniting words and pictures, children’s author Lewis takes verse to a new level with his innovative shape poetry, where the form of each poem relates to its content.
[Education Oak St Facility Q. S.811 L588d]

Moore, John Travers.
There’s Motion Everywhere. 1970.
A collection of poems in which the typographical arrangement of the words often suggests the motion being described.
[Education Oak St Facility: Request Online]

Sidman, Joyce.
Meow Ruff: a Story in Concrete Poetry. 2006.
On a clear, sunny day, a small adventure begins. First, a dog slips joyfully out of his house. Next a car pulls up to the curb, leaving a white cat alone. Then, slowly, a storm begins to brew over the park. Watch as an unlikely friendship takes shape in this one-of-a-kind book that combines story, art, and delightful concrete poetry.
[Center for Children’s Books S.811.54 Si139m]