Calligram. Typographic compositions that reproduce the form of the literary factor that motivates, develops or explains the narrative, are also poetic textual images, in which letters are arranged in such a way that the words adopt the shape of the object to which they refer. They had their origin in literary surrealism and consists of playing with the spatial arrangement of the text.


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  • 1 History
  • 2 Features
  • 3 Representatives
  • 4 Publications, authors and studies on the matter
  • 5 Sources


Calligrams were born in the 20th century , more specifically in the second decade with the artistic avant-gardes; more specifically with literary cubism, reaching a further development with the tendencies of creationism and ultraism .

The French cubist poet Guillaume Apollinaire was a famous creator of calligrams, creating the first references of this genre in 1913 , the first compositions he called lyrical ideograms. The Chilean creationist poet Vicente Huidobro had already included his first calligram entitled Harmonic Triangle , in his book Songs at Night , a text referred to in 1913 .

The calligrams are influenced in their origin, on the one hand, by literary cubism and futurism, and on the other, they show a clear inspiration in the journalistic composition and in the making of the posters. The first calligrams were published in 1914 in the Soriées magazine in Paris . In 1918 a collection appeared a collection of poems with the title Calligrammes 1913 – 1916 .


  • Text-image fusion in harmonic complement.
  • Simplicity and formal economy.
  • Strong reference in poster art and journalistic compositions.
  • Predominance of the form in connection with the content that it expresses.
  • Productions

artistic that have strong roots in literary cubism and futurism .


Some of the authors who have cultivated this interesting genre that fuses plastic and literary elements have been: the Spanish Guillermo de Torre ; Juan Larrea and Gerardo Diego ; the Peruvians Carlos Oquendo de Amat , Jorge Eduardo Eielson and Arturo Corcuera ; the Cuban Guillermo Cabrera Infante ; the Argentine Oliverio Girondo and the Uruguayan Francisco Acuña de Figueroa . In Catalan, Joan Salvat-Papasseit and Joan Brossa stand out .

Publications, authors and studies on the matter

Some of the main scholars on the subject have been J. Peignot with his work Du Calligramme , P. Massin in his text La lettre et l’Image and Rafael de Cózar in his work Poetry and Image , published in Spain .


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