Concrete Poetry on the Internet

HTML Poetry

This project explores the language of HTML and CSS to visualize concrete poetry on the web and to understand its unique typography. I chose to work with Nizar Qabbani’s poem In The Summer translated from Arabic to English. There are 25 variations of the poem, divided into 5 levels.

The first set of 5 visualizations are created with an extreme set of constraints; without CSS, I utilize only paragraph tags, line break tags, and the space entity. To create dynamic compositions with these constrains, one must treat the restrictive toolkit provided as the medium in which the poem will be visualized. The following sets of 5 poems are visualized with a consecutively gradual increase in freedom.

“The reader of the concrete poem works like a computer works when it runs a program. Computer programs are also language, as they are made up of code.”

Thank you, Laurel Schwulst.