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SHAPE POEM A shape poem is so named because its typographical shape represents its subject. The form existed since Hellenistic times and continues to be occasionally used. Typically critics consider such presentations weak poetry, as the shape, or physical form, supersedes skill of expression. Famous exceptions may be found in work by George Herbert, a religious poet whose widely anthologized shape poems define that approach for most readers. Examples include "The Altar," and "Easter Wings," neither of which falls into the category of "false wit" assigned to more feeble approaches. A 20th-century example of the shape poem is Dylan Thomas's "Vision and Prayer."
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