Concrete Poetry

Concrete poetry is a form of literary art that alphabetical letters or words are arranged into a visual image. It is like painting with letters or words as the medium. Is there "concrete poetry" in sign language? As I created some works in video with the aim of experimenting with cinematic vocabulary in ASL, English and Image, concrete poetry was formed as well.

Concrete poetry in sign language
Artist Jolanta Lapiak. Music Score, 2006. Video, 3min 27sec.

The video Music Score shows an example how concrete poetry in ASL is feasible. For example, as I spoke ASL in video, my body became words. I have played with the arrangement of my body-based words through video editing -- the movement of ASL words, the location and space of ASL words, and the speed of ASL words. For example, my body in the video became an image of the telephone double-line at the same time I signed "telephone double-line" in ASL. Cinematic vocabulary and concrete poetry are integrated in ASL.

Concrete Poetry in ASL
Artist Jolanta Lapiak. Lone Poetry, 2006-07. Video, 1min 22sec.

The video Lone Poetry employs a form of concrete poetry in Ameslan (ASL) and English. There is no image of pictures, only images of English and Ameslan (ASL). The video is an experimental work on the concept of "concrete poetry in ASL" in the written form. It expands the notion beyond traditional alphabetical writing and concrete poetry. []


Lapiak, Jolanta. 2005-2007.

Browse ASL and Deaf culture topics.