Poems Shaped Like Maps: (Di)Versifying the Teaching of Geography, II

Adele J. Haft



This paper is about poems shaped like maps. It presents a brief history of visual poetry, beginning with the ancient Greek technopaignia and culminating in the concrete and experimental map-poems of the latter half of the twentieth century. After outlining some resemblances between concrete poetry and maps generally, the paper focuses on nine works spanning nearly forty years: from “Geographica Europa” by Eugen Gomringer, a founder of concrete poetry (1960), to “Manhattan” by Howard Horowitz, a professional geographer and poet (1997). Because these poems are maps, and because visual poetry resembles cartography in its graphic form, these playful map-poems offer a delightfully eccentric way to teach how maps—like/as poems—are generalized, simplified, and selective views of the world. This paper will tell their stories.


poetry about maps; map/geography education;, visual poetry

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