Page Poetry

The idea behind page poetry is simple; choose a block of text and alter it to possess different meanings. It is a way to analyse text through New Criticism which is both creative and challenging.

For example:
The Sea
(This image came from an online post )

However simple the idea sounds, in practice it is much more difficult. The poet must not only have an idea in mind for the poem, but also must shape the chosen text into the parameters of the poetry.
I created an example below (please excuse my artistic skills):

This is a section of text used is from the very beginning of the Alice in Wonderland novel by Lewis Carroll.  I modified the text to create this poem.
section of text used is from the very beginning of the Alice in Wonderland novel by Lewis Carroll.
I modified the text to create this poem.

The method I used to create this poem is as follows:
1- I located a block of text *
2- I discovered the main quality within the text which I wished to amplify (in this case, the disjointed aspect of dreams)
3- In pencil, I circled the words and phrases I wished to include in the poem
4- I numbered the order in which I wanted to connect the words and phrases to create the poem
5- I wrote the poem out on another piece of paper to make sure it ‘made sense’ or was formated to my language liking:
……….Tired
………..she peeped into
nothing
…mind
……….very sleepy
when she wondered
…….it flashed across her mind
………………………..burning with time
…………………another moment down
……..considering
……………………………….she fell
……………plenty of time
………..but
…..noticed
disappointment
………………………….she
………………….shall think nothing of tumbling
….Let me see:
………………..knowledge
words

6- I titled the poem “Alice Dreams”
7- Used oil pastels to block out the text I did not want to include
8- I created a visual guide to the order in which I wished the eyes of the reader to follow the words/phrases that I did not block out

You do not have to be an artistic genius to create poetry in this fashion. The steps can be easily followed on the computer screen:

Created using Microsoft Word
Created using Microsoft Word

Finally, I would like to point out the differences when I add punctuation and spacing to the poem to visualize it as a separate entity:

Alice Dreams

Tired,
She peeped into nothing.
Mind…very sleepy…
When she wondered
(it flashed across her mind)
burning with time,
another moment down,
considering, she fell…
Plenty of time,
but noticed disappointment.
She shall think nothing of tumbling…
Let me see:
Knowledge…words.

As an artistic person who also loves reading and writing, I was fascinated by page poetry. There is really not all that much to find about it online.

*the text used can either be written by you (be an original work) or be something pulled from a pre-existing text.

3 Replies to “Page Poetry”

  1. This is so interesting! I have never seen or heard of page poetry before but I love the concept of mixing art with poetry – after all, they’re so similar! I specifically love that you are taking a piece of work and altering it to give a different meaning in an artistic fashion. Alice in Wonderland is such a great work to use too due to it’s dreamlike and sometimes puzzling characteristics.
    As a lover of both art and literature like Alice in Wonderland, I will definitely be trying this out! Thanks for the post!

  2. Alexis,
    I find this very interesting. I’ve seen it done before, and it is beautiful and creative. I am somewhat new to this new criticism. It goes beyond what I was taught by previous teachers but I am getting more comfortable with it. I love what you did with the Alice work. Nice job!

  3. In my poetry class in high school, we actually took poems and did the very same thing. We would take poems, and choose words throughout it to form a whole new poem completely, and the artwork just personifies what the new poem is about. Not only is it really interesting to see, but creating the new poems as well as the artwork helps to understand the original poem, as well as spin a creative flare on a new one!

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