Examples of Shape Poems for Kids

Shape poems are an unusual form of poetry, in that the arrangement of the poem’s words on the page (or screen) forms a recognisable shape or picture. It is common for the poem’s shape to reflect the its theme or subject, but it is not a requirement. Some shape poems deliberately challenge this convention for humorous effect. So far, so simple.

It's never simple

Unfortunately, Americans have decided that shape poems should be called concrete poems. I have to say that I prefer the term shape, which neatly ties the poem's form to its description, so we'll stick with it for the time being.

Twisted shape poetry

There are two really quite distinct types of shape poetry, twisted and true. Twisted shape poems are easier and more fun to write, which makes them ideal for children. In the case of twisted poems, the words of the poem are written and then simply contorted or twisted to form the desired shape. I've turned the opening of the traditional nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle, into a shape poem so that you can see how the twisting of the words works:

An example of a twisted shape poem form

Some people think that twisted shape poetry is a cheat, because the same words can be twisted into almost any shape.

Examples of twisted shape poems

I must say I like the twisted form, because if you're unhappy with how the poem turns out first time, you can easily untwist the words and twist them into different shapes until you get the result you want.

Examples of Twisted Shape Poems

Ampersand

Example of a shape poem in an ampersand shape

A twisted shape poem which is in the
shape of an ampersand, which is an
abbreviated form of the word and.
by Patrick Winstanley

Olympic Fun & Games

Example of a shape poem in the form of the 5 rings emblem of the Olympic Games

An Olympic shape poem in which the
poem's 5 lines are curled inside the
rings of the Olympic Games emblem
by Patrick Winstanley

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Example of two twisted shape poems in christmas tree shapes

Two twisted shape poems, or at least
one twisted and disintegrated shape
poem in the form of a Christmas tree
by Patrick Winstanley

True shape poetry

True shape poems are a different kettle of fish entirely. In a true shape poem, the poet uses the differing line lengths to create the desired imagery. It can be a tricky and frustrating business. If you want to create a poem which rhymes and has a recognisable metre, you either need to select a fairly rectangular form for your poem or to cheat like mad. I think it's an acceptable cheat when creating a true shape poem in a complex shape to let the start of new lines fall wherever they fall. It can also be helpful to highlight the initial letter of each line in bold or a contrasting colour so that your audience know that it's reading a poem, rather than a very short, oddly-shaped novel.

Let's have a look at an example everything should fall into place. In this case I've created a true shape poem in the form of a man in a hat.

a true shape poem in the shape of a hat

I've also included a riddle in the poem, just to bamboozle you a bit further. Perhaps it's time to get out your I-spy Book of Hats.

Examples of True Shape Poems

Me, Me, Me

Example of a true shape poem in a heart shape

A wholly egotistical true shape poem
in which the words form a love heart
by Patrick Winstanley

The Poeteer

Example of a shape poem in the shape of three mountains

A mountain-shaped poem about
the painfull process of writing poetry
by Patrick Winstanley

The Leaning Tower of Pizza

A shape poem for kids about Italian food

A feast of fonts and a punishing pun
collide in this collaborative shape poem
about the authors' love of Italian food
by Patrick Winstanley & Hannah Flemington

Shape PoemsOnomatopoeia Poems

Ready to write a shape poem? I'd start with a twisted one. They're easier!
Funny Poems and Nonsense Verse for Kids
Copyright © Funny Poems for Kids / Patrick Winstanley 2002-2013 All Rights Reserved.
Individual poems are copyright the stated authors and used with permission