Why did poets experiment with calligrams in the beginning of the 20th century?

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Many of the surrealist and modernist poets of the early twentieth century experimented with calligrams. The form itself was not new; it had been used, for example, in metaphysical poet George Herbert's "Easter Wings" several hundred years earlier. The modernist version, however, was the outcome of two converging theoretical positions. The first was an interest in synaesthesia, or blending of the senses, that the surrealists inherited from the earlier symbolists such as Rimbaud. The other was an emphasis on poetry as a written or typewritten visual form, and an understanding of the visual elements of the poem as part of its aesthetic rather than simply a representation of orality.

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