Thomas Ramey Watson

Before text messages–rather, “b4 txts” (B.T.?) — there was emblematic poetry.

Before there were text messages — or rather, “b4 txts” (B.T.?) — there was emblematic poetry.

Fashionable during the Victorian era, emblematic verse played games with form and typography.

A poem about flight and divinity, for example, might have its stanzas arranged in the shape of an angel’s wings.

And a pining ode to one’s beloved might substitute letters, numbers and punctuation marks for actual words: “He says he loves U 2 X S, / U R virtuous and Y’s.”

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As a liter

ary schol

ar I would point out that emblematic poetry of various kinds has a long long history, going back at least as far as classical cultures.

Probably further, since human nature hasn’ t really changed.

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