Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 Rome - 1918 Paris) wrote the most gorgeous 'concrete' or 'visual' poems - that is, poems in which the shape or typographic setting of the poem on the page is integral to its meaning as a text.
Part of the appeal for me is that, since my 'reading' French is of a standard where I can generally bluff out the meaning, a pictogram is really helpful. That is very shallow, I know! I'm not going to say anything smart about these poems, but rather reproduce some of the loveliest. All are taken from his Calligrammes (printed posthumously in 1918). Sadly, Apollinaire died young, taken by the influenza pandemic at the end of the First World War. He is buried in Paris' Père Lachaise cemetery and has a most appropriate monument on which is carved a heart-shape made from letters which spell out Mon coeur pareil à une flamme renversée ("My heart, like an inverted/upsidedown flame"). My photo isn't great, unfortunately, but I've bleached the colour out in the second shot to show the heart a little better:
Source: taken by me in February 2010.
This is how it appears in Calligrammes:
Here is his famous "Il Pleut" (It's raining) [source]:
I think we can recognise this one [source]:
This is 'Paysage' (there's a nice explanation here.
I love the running man and the cigar):
Apollinaire also drew some other poems in a more free form,
including this horse and portrait [source]:
Lovely, aren't they? (Even if, like me, you only have about a third of a clue about what they mean).