Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems
Written by Bob Raczka
Who says words need to be concrete? This collection shapes of poems do in surprising and delightful ways. Concrete poetry is a perennially popular poetic form because they are fun to look at. But by using the arrangement of the words on the page to convey the meaning of the poem, concrete or shape poems are also easy to write!
Primary Source Pairing:
As a reader of a concrete poem, you are also simultaneously visually analyzing the poem. Concrete poems are written in a way where the words and the shapes or the poem’s art match the meaning the words convey. When the words themselves shape the poem, a poetic and visual combination creates a reading adventure. For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze the poems themselves. Choose a poem to read aloud before showing students the word art created by author Bob Raczka. Then display the concrete poem and talk to students about how the poem sounds, looks, and/or feels different when they are viewing it rather than just listening. Firefly on pages 22-23, Dominoes on pages 14-15, and Lightning on pages 36-37 are examples of poems that are excellent to read aloud and then display visually.
Questions for Discussion:
- Listen to a poem read aloud from the book Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems
written by Bob Raczka.
- What do you hear when you listen?
- What do you visualize in your head when you listen to the poem?
- How does the poem make you feel?
- Look at the word art for the poem in the book.
- Read the poem again to yourself.
- Compare your experience with the poem when you were listening to it read aloud and when you were looking at it in the book.
- How do concrete poems combine words and images?
Book Cover and Summary: Follett