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Latin American Concrete Poetry and Artists' Books: Home

An exhibit featuring a selection of Latin American concrete poetry and artists' books from the Special Collections Department

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Concrete Poetry

"Open" Concrete Poem

"Open," by Augusto de Campos and Julio Plaza, 1969

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"Concrete poetry thematizes the operation of language in general, the way it affects us, and the way we communicate with it. Concrete poetry thus operates in a way that is comparable to how advertising works, utilizing the various types of graphic signals that we react to in everyday life.”

-Unpublished interview with Stephen Bann

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Exhibit Title Image

Presented by the University of Pittsburgh

Special Collections Department

Spring-Summer 2017

Concrete poetry, also called structural poetry, is a genre of poetry that utilizes language as a form of art, focusing on the literal definitions of words and ideograms rather than the subjective meaning they hold when strung together.  Often words only make sense in the context of their location on the page and cannot be read in a sentence.  This genre was established in 1955 when two parties, Swiss-Bolivian writer Eugen Gomringer and a group of Brazillian writers called “Noigandres,” realized they were all creating the same type of material and decided to formally define it.  These writers took their inspiration from the avant-garde movement, music, mathematics, and art.  Their intention in creating concrete poetry was to revitalize language and make it accessible.  While concrete poetry is created in many parts of the world today, this exhibit features authors from Latin American, where the form has been strongly embraced. 

"Terra" Concrete Poem

"Terra," by Décio Pignatari, 1956


Members of the Noigandres Group

Haroldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, and Décio Pignatari

In 1952, Brazillian poets Décio Pignatari, Augusto de Campos, and Haroldo de Campos formed a group called “Noigandres.”  They published a magazine by the same name, in which they explored a new genre of poetry, which they would later define as "concrete poetry." 

"Gramma Kellcani" from Instan, by Cecilia Vicuña

"Palabra Estrella" from Instan by Cecilia Vicuna

Guide Creator

This LibGuide was created by Cassie Frank, Special Collections student employee in the MLIS program at the University of Pittsburgh, and overseen by Special Collections staff Brigitta Arden and Jennifer Needham.