Flat tabletop case  •  149cm x 63cm

16. "Easter Wings," by George Herbert (1633)
17. "The Altar," by George Herbert (1633)
18. "Tree of Life," by Robert de Lisle (c. 1330-1340)
19. "Metrum XXIX," by Iacobus Nicholai de Dacia (1363)
20. "Bottle [French]" by Franæois Rabelais (c. 1550)
21. "Bottle [English]" by Franæois Rabelais (c. 1550)
22. "Hieroglyph IX," by Francis Quarles (1638)
23. "My spirit, Lord...," by Edward Benlowes (1652)
24. "Ein Sand-Uhr," by Theodor Kornfeld (1685)
25. "Bär," by Johann Leonhard Frisch (1700)

After the decline of the Carolingian empire in the ninth century, pattern poetry all but disappeared in the western world for 500 years. Interesting parallel examples can be found in Asian cultures during this period, particularly in Islamic and Hindu texts, but examples are not held in UNC's collections, and thus they are unfortunately beyond the scope of this exhibit. In Europe, the disappearance of pattern poetry coincides with the general academic malaise of the times.

To take an alternate viewpoint, one could argue that Hrabanus Maurus so radically redefined the parameters of "pattern poetry" that a challenge seemed to have been satisfied, and writers and artists turned their attention to other media — for example, architecture, mosaic design, stained glass windows, and illuminated manuscripts.

The newfound popularity of visual poetry in the Renaissance is part of the over "rebirth" of arts and culture that give the era its name. It is interesting to note that while some new visual directions were explored, many Renaissance poems harkened back to classical forms, even directly copying them at times. However, it is likewise interesting to note that the Latin language was no longer seen as a necessary component to visual poetry.

Visual poetry, and especially shaped poetry, became such a craze in the 1600s — nearly half of all known pattern/shape poetry was created in this century — that it eventually fostered a backlash against forms that came to be seen as increasingly "trivial." By the end of the eighteenth century, visual poetry lay relatively dormant once again.

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