Il Pleut / It Rains
This is a visual poem by the French poet, art critic and writer Guillaume Apollinaire*(1880 – 1918). One of his claims to fame is that Apollinaire may have coined the term ‘Cubisme‘ for a that particular art movement (think Picasso and George Braque). After moving to Paris, he became a populair member of the Avantgarde art scene.
However, his experimental work in modern poetry was highly original. He was one of the first play around with typeface and the arrangement of the words on the page, which added extra layers of meaning to the poems. He called these Calligrammes. In his own words these visual poems are “an idealisation of free verse poetry and typographical precision in an era when typography is reaching a brilliant end to its career, at the dawn of the new means of reproduction that are the cinema and the phonograph.”
In 1918 he published a collectiontion of poems: Calligrammes; poèmes de la paix et da la guerre, 1913-1916. Sadly, Apollinaire died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 at the age of 38.
For an in-depth analysis of the poem, please visit: Il Pleut