Before entering fully into the definition of the term calligram, it is necessary to proceed to know its etymological origin. In this case, we can determine that it has its origin in Greek. And it is that it is the sum of two components of that language:
-The adjective “kallos”, which can be translated as “beautiful”.
-The verb “graphein”, which is synonymous with “write”.
-The suffix “-ma”, which is used to indicate the result of the action.
Precisely for this reason, calligram can be translated as “beautiful writing”.
The term calligram refers to a text that, thanks to the organization of the letters, is also constituted as a drawing. Calligrams, in this way, usually combine poetry with the graphic representation of figures linked to the theme of the verses.
According to DigoPaul, calligrams can be said to be part of visual poetry. In this case, the words create an image that expresses, in a visual way, what the words themselves mention.
Suppose a poet writes about a lion. To develop a calligram, you will need to unfold the words of your verses in such a way that they visually create the image of one of these animals. In other words: when writing your poem on paper, you will have to draw the figure of a lion with the verses. This will generate a calligram.
The same will have to do who wants to form a calligram related to a flower. First you will have to think about the contents about it: it can be a poem, a reflection or even single words. When capturing these contents on paper or a screen, you must organize them so that they constitute a drawing of a flower, creating the calligram in question.
Nowadays, there are many teachers who do not hesitate to use calligrams in class with the clear objective that their students begin to be interested in poetry in such a surprising and visual way.
Throughout history, many writers were noted for their calligrams. One of the most important was Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet born in 1880 and who died in 1918. The Spanish Gerardo Diego, the Cuban Guillermo Cabrera Infante, the Chilean Vicente Huidobro and the Argentine Oliverio Girondo are other prominent authors of calligrams.
However, that does not mean that we also take into consideration other important and illustrious authors who also used and regularly use the calligram. This would be the case of the Catalan poet Joan Salvat-Passasseit (1894 – 1924), who became a true benchmark in that sense within his autonomous community. One of his works can be read and discovered in a significant building on the famous Paseo del Born in Barcelona.
In the same way, we cannot forget the existence of Editorial Caligrama. This is a personalized publication stamp from Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial that began its journey back in 2014.
It is aimed, fundamentally, at authors who are committed to promoting their literary career and who decide to do it by self-publishing the work they own.