Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/13/2011 09:54:00 PM - , 1 comment

Magic of Words - Concrete Cat


Concrete cat is a concrete poem. A concrete poem is an experimental poem, which verbally deals with visual ideas with an attempt to articulate visual thinking and bring the aesthetic principle of paintings into the poetry. It is mostly written to look at although it uses letters instead of painting brush.

In “Concrete Cat” we can see Dorthi Charles has used black letters and placed it in such a manner that it shows us the picture of a cat on the page. To make the picture more vivid, he has used pointed letters. “A” shows the pointed ears of cat, the capital “Y” is used to show the wide opened eyes of cat as it is approaching food. The stripes, whiskers, mouth, paw and tail also made visible by appropriate arrangement of letters.

The poet has also associated some catness with the concrete cat. For example a mouse is shown upside down. It means the cat has recently killed it, which is cat’s nature. Similarly, the letter “U” is used mouth to suggest that a cat licks its food. There are some litter boxes at the corner, which suggests that the cat is in a storeroom. The food kept near it also suggests that the cat is a domestic one.

The poet has also used a pun in the poem. A pun is a device of figurative language in which a word with two meanings is playfully used in a context. The punning words are spelled and pronounced in the same way. We find the mid stripe on the cat’s body can be read as “stripe”, which means a long extended black line on a cat’s body. At the same time it can also be read as “tripes”, which means the food inside its stomach.

“Concrete Cat” is an example of a “concrete poem,” a poem made for the eye. The chief concern of such a poem is with the physical appearance of poetry – not primarily with ideas or emotions, not with language as we ordinarily use it, but with the “reduced language” of the word itself as it appears on the page or elsewhere.
The pet may be telling us about a cat, but may be showing its “catness” in action – as far as this can be done by black and white letters on a page. We see that the cat’s tongue is a U, and so on. The pun in the cat’s middle stripe (tripes) is the only place where language aspires toward poetry and become figurative.

“Concrete Cat” is implied poem that indicates the concrete ideas about something. This type of poem is meant to see rather than to read. is a concrete poem by which we mean a poem for the eye not for the ear. However, this type of poem reveals the pun through of words and it is good fun to read and see the concrete poem. The poet here experiences his sight of cat through the letters and he organizes the words in a very skillful way that represent a shape of a cat and different organs of the cat. The letter “A” indicates or creates the shape of pointed ears and U makes the mouth. The white backdrop and black letters here show the real stripe of the cat. This cat concentrates here in front of the readers after killing the mouse. The upside down letter of mouse indicates that the mouse is killed by the cat. The selections of words such as stripe, whisker, paw, tail etc characterize the real cat like a picture but if the poet would use sentences instead of words, his concrete poem would never come to a form of cat.

Some of the letters are capitalized by the poet, such as A to show the pointed ends of the ear; U to show the curved position of its tongue and mouth and Y to show the nose that separates two eyes. The letters of the word “tail” is written by giving more space to show the length of the tail, which is long and slightly bending.

The poet sets the letters of the word “mouse” upside down to indicate that the mouse is dead and it is lying behind the cat. In front of the cat, a mouse can not stand upright. We can assume that the cat is playing with the dead cat by turning it upside down.

The pun can be created by the middle stripe of the cat. As the letters are repeated, each word can create different meaning. It is the play of the words. When we separate the letters from “stripe”, the two words are created, “tripe” and “stripe”. Tripe means the belly of animal to carry the food stuffs and “stripes” means a relatively long band of colour or texture. The cat as the poet describes here are consisted of two basic words stripes and tripe and other letters and words as necessary.