Imagism

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Last updated: November 28, 2019

Imagism time period
1909-1917

Imagism was responsible for
introducing Modernist poetry

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Imagism tried to
capture a moment in words- poems were like pictures

3 tenets of Imagism
concrete images, clear expression, everyday language

founder and inspiration of Imagism
Ezra Pound

Imagism encouraged
free verse, images rather than philosophical themes, structure not as important

Imagist poets
Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Hilda (H.D.

) Doolittle

Main purposes of Imagism
1. capture common, everyday ideas2. personal experience and detail was important3. focus on overall experience (good and bad)

Ezra Pound
Father of Imagism

Ezra Pound birth and death dates
1885-1972

Ezra Pound’s personality
eccentric, charismatic

Ezra Pound was from
Idaho, moved to Italy in 1925

Ezra Pound was an outspoken supporter of
Mussolini during WWII

Ezra Pound was convicted of
treason

Ezra Pound went to
the hospital for the criminally ill from 1945-1958, but letters from friends and others assisted in his release

Ezra Pound believed in the
direct treatment of a subject: limited words to only those that would contribute to the presentation

Ezra Pound wrote
In a Station of the Metro and The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

What is the setting of In a Station of the Metro?
a train station

Implications of In a Station of the Metro
It suggests that society pressures individuals to be the same, just like petals are. People die when they homogenize (because imitation is suicide), which is why the bough is black. The petals are frail because humans’ dependence on the “bough” of society weakens their personal strength and moral character.

Society’s pressure leads to the detriment of individuals’ character, i.e. the dangerous frailty of the petals.

How In a Station of the Metro relates to the modern world
We should not be petals of a bough, but our own boughs altogether- we should not rely on society to govern our personalities and characters. To do this, we should form our own opinions and stick to them as much as possible, even when others tell us that our beliefs are wrong.

Use of “apparition” in In a Station of the Metro
The images evoke feelings of sadness and despondence because of words such as “apparition” and “black.” The use of the word “apparition” communicates that people are not themselves; rather, they are ghosts of themselves as they depend too much on society to govern their actions. The train goes by too fast for the narrator to notice the people and their individualities

Summary of The River Merchant’s Wife
At 14, she marries the river-merchant.

She is happy, but at the same time does not feel completely comfortable with the situation. At 15, she begins to feel more liberated and excited about the marriage. At 16, her husband leaves, but she does not want him to leave.

How do we know a lot of time has passed since the husband left in The River Merchant’s Wife ?
The mosses are “Too deep to clear them away.” (He has been gone so long that the moss is unkempt.

) The details about the leaves and butterflies changing color indicate a changing of season, meaning that he has been gone for at least several months (if not longer).

How do the characters in The River Merchant’s Wife feel about the husband’s absence?
The wife is not happy- The paired butterflies hurt her because their coming reminds her of how long her own partner has been away, the mention of the monkeys that “made sorrowful noises, and she says she will go as far as she need to in order to see him again. The husband is not happy either- he “dragged his feet” when he left.

Images in The River Merchant’s Wife
sight: blue plums, moss, yellow butterflies, swirling eddies, falling leavessound: monkeys, the river, she is called for, dragging his feettouch: wind, flowers, leaves, mosssmell: monkeys, flowerstaste: blue plums

William Carlos Williams birth and death dates
1883-1963

William Carlos Williams was born in
New Jersey

William Carlos Williams was a
writer and doctor

William Carlos Williams became friends with
Ezra Pound in college (U. Penn)

William Carlos Williams was interested in
a uniquely American style of writing- he wanted to separate from the European culture and focus his poetry on everyday circumstances, objects, and people

While William Carlos Williams’ career grew steadily, he felt overshadowed by the career of
T.

S. Eliot

William Carlos Williams wrote
The Red Wheelbarrow, This is Just to Say, and The Locust Tree in Flower

The Red Wheelbarrow is a photograph in words, easily pictured, simple. What feelings does it evoke? What kind of scene do you visualize?
It evokes both feelings of peace and sadness. It is peaceful to think that life is so simple, but sad and almost scary to think that it could all depend on something so seemingly insignificant. I visualize the wheelbarrow and the chickens standing in a verdant field on a farm. The farm is slightly muddy and damp due to the rain that glazed the wheelbarrow.

Since a wheelbarrow is used for hauling common items (dirt, manure, etc.

), what is the author saying about the ordinary things of life?

Emphasis on the importance of an ordinary object

“So much” depends on the ordinary, day-to-day living that we do. What does that mean?
We often overlook simple objects that have an important role in everyday life

Symbols in The Red Wheelbarrow
life: white chickens, vitality: rainwater, newness: glazed, freshness: position of the objects/words on the paper

This is Just to Say
Apology made to someone for eating the plums that were in the icebox, it doesn’t seem like he or she is sorry because although they apologize, they continue to emphasize the good qualities of the plums that the other person did not get to experience and the title emphasizes a quick rather than true apology.

the use of the word “ice box” rather than “refrigerator” in This is Just to Say
He chose it to emphasize the cold qualities of the plums. “Refrigerator” does not connote a freezing feeling like “Ice box” does (also, we’re pretty sure refrigerators didn’t exist yet :))

Images in This is Just to Say
taste: delicious and sweettouch: icebox, cold

This is Just to Say fits into Imagism because
it’s an ordinary situation when someone tries to admit they are sorry for a simple action- they don’t really mean it, but they feel that apologizing is the right thing to do

concrete images describing the branch before it blossoms in The Locust Tree
green, old, stiff, bright and broken

concrete images describing the branch after it blossoms in The Locust Tree
white and sweet

What does the word “again’ signify in The Locust Tree?
It signifies that with each coming of the spring season, the blossoming will happen again.

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