I left out something important in Entry 1377. (I probably should say that I realized that I just thought of one of important things I left out.) It has to with the helpfulness of showing how one’s taxonomy evolved from earlier ones. For instance, to help show the validity of accepting visual poetry as a class of art that my poetry taxonomy should cover, I go back in history to the earliest (significant) visual poems (in English, since that’s my main focus, although pre-English culture should be investigated (as I have, I maintain, without finding anything useful to my particular project). I’m speaking of the shaped poems of Herbert (and perhaps others). They consist of nothing but words but are importantly visual. Hence, I can argue that the first visual poems (of those I’m concerned with) were too verbal for any reasonable person to call not poems.
From there it seems to me the evolution of visual poetry is clear, with a side trip to France and other more purely verbal poems that are partly or wholly visually presented like Mallarme’s scatter of letters, and Apollinaire’s visual onomatopoeia (letters arranged to suggest rainfall, for instance), then on to more sophisticated visual arrangements of the purely verbal carried out by Cummings. How can anyone argue against his visual poems as not poems? What else can a lineated text doing other things poetry has long done, as well as a few thins visual art has done, but containing nothing but words? And make sense only if their words are taken into consideration? Concrete poetry was much more sophisticated than the work of Cummings, but remained in its purest form entirely verbal. But some of it took on averbal graphic matter (and in my view sometimes stopped being poetry). Combinations of the verbal and the purely graphic were at first no greater a step from what had previously been accepted as visual poetry than Herbert’s shaped poems were from entirely unvisual poems. How could anyone argue that it was not reasonable to call them visual poems?
And so it can be shown, in my view, that the most complexly visual poetry of today has evolved, one small step at a time from Herbert’s shaped poetry, so should be accepted as a kind of poetry.