Blogging Etiquette, Ezra Pound, Imagism, Sensory Details, Victoria C. Slotto, William Carlos Williams
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
In the early 1900’s the movement called Imagism made itself known in England and the United States. Many names that we recognize embraced it to varying degrees: Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Richard Aldington, William Carlos Williams and Amy Lowell, to name a few.
Imagists sought to represent “things” in clear, precise language—in the words of Ezra Pound, “luminous details.” Notice in the oft-quoted poem above, by William Carlos Williams that nothing really happens. The words are pure description.
Imagism was influenced in part by Japanese poetry and even Cubism, the art form that sought to reduce an object to its purest essence. It generally employs no metaphors even though the reader may project some underlying meaning into the poem.
While the movement itself was relatively short-lived, its influence extends to subsequent poetry, and even prose. As writers we seek to bring life to our work by including sharp sensory descriptions.
In an article for Poetry Magazine in 1912, Ezra Pound defined the group’s position:
• Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective.
• To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
• As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome.
Pound further defined an image: “that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.”
For today’s prompt, I invite you to share a poem in the style of imagism. If you prefer, the imagist aspect may be part of a larger work.
- Write your poem and post it on your blog or website.
- Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this page and add your name and the direct URL to your submission.
- Finally, return and visit other poets and comment on their work. Please make every effort to return visits and comment on those who have taken the time to read and comment on yours.
In conclusion, I’ve been asked to share a few ideas about blog etiquette. It is a gift to be a part of a blogging community. Along with that privilege comes some responsibility. Here are a few thoughts:
• As mentioned above, take the time to return visits and comments.
• Please do not repost the work of another blogger without obtaining their specific permission. If you write to a prompt, be sure to acknowledge the source of the prompt rather than just cutting and pasting the prompt itself.
• Include your URL when commenting to make it easier for the recipient of the comment to return visits.
• It’s okay to disagree with an opinion, but always be respectful of one another and of yourself by avoiding vulgarity and cheap shots. If you can’t express your rebuttal in a courteous manner, it may be better to keep your thoughts to yourself.
victoria, i read your post at work today..and on my way back home in the traffic jam, i somehow thought of summer and canned fruits and of my grandma…and i was just hungry for everything… wonderful prompt and also what you say about blogging etiquette…i whole-heartedly agree…thank you
Brian Carlin said:
Synchronicity I deed, Victoria, I have a whole swatch of stuff written to the basic imagist precepts, but last night wrote a light-hearted piece on the very subject. Looking forward to reading others…
dark angel said:
Interesting! Thanks Victoria. I’m such a metaphoric girl, I don’t know if I can be this clean and real…
Awesome post and I get to play today! Loved your notes on etiquette as well. Well spoken points that we should all embrace. No question the real world can ride rough-shot over us by times…but building good relationships through such etiquette will mean your family will be ready and waiting upon your return!
Love this prompt and this style. Can not resist starting with this:
Will have something for ‘linky’ later.
Laurie Kolp said:
Thanks not only for the prompt (I’m a visual person) but for the reminder on respecting one another.
Very interesting subject, and challenging to write if you are not normally in that sort of mindset…and even though I’m not a big fan, that picture of Ezra Pound is just ….hot. ;_) I’ll see what percolates up through the grey matter. Thanks for hosting,Victoria.
he has wild hair and wild eyes..ha
My kind of guy, ;_) I’m up with something–how imagist it is I’ll let others decide.
Victoria C. Slotto said:
It’s definitely got clear description and that’s what’s the basis of imagism.
whenever victoria has a prompt, i always have this anxiety about whether i got the right idea, and this is not an exception…
i’ve commented on everyone’s that was up so far, except tashtoo cuz i can’t do it on her blogspot, but i tweeted her my comment.
lately, i’m frustrated with commenting because a bunch of blogspot posts won’t take my comments, and i hear a lot of others too. i don’t like to waste my time so often i just give up all together.
i thought yours was great tammy…and i hear you on the commenting…i’m lucky to still have my blogger profile and can comment with this on blogger blogs… maybe this would be an idea for you as well? just a suggestion
Victoria C. Slotto said:
Oh no, not anxiety! Prompts as I see them are to tickle the muse. Whatever she/he inspres is what’s right. Everyone might not see it like that but I don’t think there are standards to be met…it’s just to get us writing!
I love that out-of-place feeling that creeps into my belly when I’m dared to try a new style, intimidated but wearing enough bravado to at least make an attempt at a poem. By the time I’ve finished writing, I’m usually left feeling like 1) I didn’t do it right, but 2) I can’t wait to try it again, and maybe 3) That’s my favorite new style.
It’s really helpful if everyone just allows anonymous commenting. Then those who have trouble leaving comments won’t be so frustrated. None of us would want to miss out on great feedback from anyone.
There are some blogs that I can’t leave comments because of so many security hoops. I think I have encountered one that was running so many security scripts, it was impossible to leave a comment.
Blogger is particularly problematic if the comment is set to same page — it’s a bit better if blogger users set commenting to pop-up in new window. It still doesn’t totally eliminate problems that come up from time to time.
…and speaking of commenting… made my way to number seven but had a tough day and need a bed…so will continue my round tomorrow… have fun poets…smiles
I’m sorry you had a tough day, Claudia. I hope today is much better. 🙂
Victoria C. Slotto said:
More than likely, most of my visits will be tomorrow as well…I had a rough night! :0)
You too? Oh no! I hope you have an amazing day to make up for it. 🙂
Victoria C. Slotto said:
I also have humongous issues posting to blogspot. So if any of you don’t hear from me, that’s why!
Like I said, everyone should allow anonymous commenting. That would fix all our problems. 🙂
I wish, Shawna! Unfortunately blogspot blogs that use embedded comments especially are just very hard for some to comment on–I’ve always allowed anonymous commenting, and every other kind! ;_) but I get emails frequently from people who can’t post their comments. Changing browsers out of Internet Explorer to Firefox, Safari or Chrome, and allowing third party cookies seem to help the most. But it’s very random and hard to tell just why sometimes. And now there’s a new upgrade allowing the blog owner to reply as on wordpress, and that seems to be causing more problems. Sigh..apologies to all you word press-only users in advance!
This was a great post. I loved it … it took me back to school to my very favorite classes (taken not so long ago in 2007). Thanks for this.
I hope mine fits the bill for the prompt… Yikes.. if not I’ll blame it on the dog LOL 😉
Nice prompt, thank you
Gay Reiser Cannon said:
I consider my work first, last and in-between imagist. It was an answer to the call of the Imagists that I began to write poetry and it is finding haiku and the Japanese form that I feel I compressed my wordy self into its most basic and reduced message.
I have posted a new haiku set written last week. I’ve been studying for my post for next week which will be French Ballades. I am re-introducing myself to the Impressionist painters. I’ve been fortunate to have seen many exhibitions of Vincent’s work in my life. These are haiku of a few favorites. Thank you Victoria for focusing on my favorite poetry, and giving an excellent introduction to those who may not be familiar with it.
Ginny Brannan said:
Hi Victoria, thanks for hosting, and teaching us about “imagism.” I gave it a shot, as it is described, so hopefully what I’ve written “works!” Used one of my own photos too, as a prompt.
Appreciate the reminder for proper “etiquette.” I always do my best to visit as many as I can. (That being said, I have to run out, but promise to be back to comment later. Honest!!)
Ginny Brannan said:
I’m baackk!! 🙂
I’m not a poet–not really–I just write stuff. Ordinarily, I don’t get into things such as this; don’t feel like I’m qualified, or capable. But this one intriqued me, so I’ll throw one in the fire and see if it burns.
I love that: “I’m not a poet; I just write stuff.” What an awesome thing to say. 🙂 The definition of poet cannot be pinned down, so this couldn’t possibly be true.
i’ve wanted to participate again and even now need to link to an older work, though one of my favorites
the imagism idea i like within it is expressed by several items in ms slotto’s really nice preface to the prompt, ezra pound’s definition, and the wanting the sense of music within the work
it was written in ’94, and is as fresh and true to me now as then
thanks so much for such a great site 😉
really an interesting article victoria…i went online and chased a few other links on them as well…interesting the variety within the style as well…at least in what i could find…fairly sure i failed as i took the obtuse direction going after deity as my thing but…
sorry i double tapped…will fix that first one now…was in a hurry earlier when i tagged in…
LOL … double-tapped … you crack me up 🙂 I’m sure that term will find its way into your next poem 🙂
Such a great point! There is so much sway from one imagist poet to the next. Nothing can truly be defined, it seems.
Hi Victoria, such a nice helpful interesting post. This is difficult for wordy me, but I made the effort! Thanks for the prompt. K.
This is a new style for me – I wrote a haiku today which seems to fit imagismry (I think). Anyway, it’s my first visit to your lovely site, so it’s nice to have a go. Seeing some old friends and brilliant poets among your followers.
So glad you’re joining us! Another prompt will be posted Saturday, and Tuesday is a linkup for free-writes. Welcome. 🙂
David King said:
Imagist poems should be written in the field, I always think – or at least conceived there – but I’ve had a go. (In spite of what I think, it was a great idea for a challenge!!!)
Late. I like this style. Eager to read. Cheers to you all. 🙂
I linked my icy poems last night, but I forgot to comment here. … Thanks goes to Ravenblack for one of my meatiest feedback-comments ever. You seriously made my day with such a thorough reading and interpretation.
You are welcome! Really enjoyed reading what you posted. 🙂
Other Mary said:
Oh, this is hard for me, but here goes:
I feel your pain, Mary–this one was really not in my ballpark–but it’s hard to resist a challenge like this.
Forgot to say I’ve been grabbed by reality, and will be around to comment this evening.Thanks to all who’ve risen to the challenge–look forward to reading!
While I find this aesthetic a little TOO minimal and bare bones, I think it’s got a lot going for it. It’s the opposite of abstraction, and I think gets to the heart of what makes a poem great. Painting an image with words in a way that suggests meaning rather than stating it is an enviable skill, and poems that do it well invite repeated readings because they open up the more they are examined.
Joseph Harker said:
Dropped a poem in the bucket…
…but also, if I might be permitted a moment of shameless self-promotion, if you’re into the imagist tradition and what you can do with it, you might think about checking out Curio Poetry, the magazine devoted to such things. 😉
Bradley Howington said:
Incredible post, Victoria! Thank you!
“As writers we seek to bring life to our work by including sharp sensory descriptions.”
Victoria C. Slotto said:
Thanks for all your comments, everyone. Since I’m playing catch-up today (it seems like that’s how it is too often) I just want to say a few things in general.
About prompts–this is my opinion, so feel free to disagree and comment. It seems like I didn’t explain imagism clearly–perhaps because I only just learned about it as a movement, perhaps because I didn’t write the prompt until Wed. night when my favorite research sites were on the brink of “blacking out,” but my feeling about prompts is that their purpose is to stimulate/promote writing. I think wherever the prompt takes you is a good place to be, perhaps that’s just what you’re supposed to be writing. I don’t like the idea of anyone feeling like they aren’t doing a good job, or not meeting the “requirements.” This is just my opinion. On the other hand, I do applaud any effort to go beyond one’s comfort zone.
About blogspot–I plan on trying to download Foxfire to see if that helps. Sometimes I can access/ and other times I can’t. I will keep trying. The two I remember that had problems with today were Ginny and Other Mary. If anyone else didn’t get a comment from me, that’s why. I’ll try again later. I hesitate to download Foxfire because my husband downloaded a new browser today and lost all his favorites and there are lots of writing resources on mine I don’t want to loose.
Warm thanks to everyone who participated, commented. Just have fun!
I think I read everyone. Nice work, guys and gals. 🙂
Sorry to anyone unable to post on Beachany By The Sea. I thought I’d made it so there were no obstacles to commenting. I’ll put future posts up on wordpress Beachanny’s Texas until things begin to resolve on blogger. I haven’t been having problems anywhere but I have so many ways to log in that it doesn’t matter – blogger, wordpress, fb, and twitter. I seem to have social media covered (or rather they’re covering me) SOB. Thanks to everyone who has come by!
i’m not sure that i did it correctly, but this was a great prompt and a really interesting post. thank you, Victoria! ♥
Gahhh Too slow! I missed the prompt…I’m always doing that 😦
I don’t know if I’m breaking rules by doing this but…..
If you want to read my submission it’s here:
otherwise sniff haughtily at my supremely rude behavior and ignore it 🙂
I do the same, either by my own lazyness, the need to digest before creating and the time zone difference..
Love this post! Alas no time to ty imagism yet, but I will at some stage. 🙂
I am surprised people have trouble commenting on Blogspots ‚ but then, I only use Firefox, Safari or Chrome. Will note suggestions made.
Personally I have a dislike for WordPress blogs, which so often demand signing in, and if you want to see follow-ups you have to suscribe to each new comment separately. Puh-leze! I mostly don’t. (Not all secify that, I am glad to say.)
I appreciate you bringing up the topic of etiquette here…it’s important to remember. Thanks, Victoria…sorry so belated with my comment.
I was about to do some imagist free verse on forest and nature, something highly romanticized, I know as a Finn. Midsummernights days and experience of forests not as some pure place, but as it is. Scary, full of critters and such, nature and urban humanity in reality, as forests have never been anything but scary, mystic but in many ways “unknown enemy”, those of us who still live near real forests and know the history of a forest surrounded culture.
Real forest is a thing of nature, like a storm, making you feel more scared than some romantic connections to nature. We have paved nature on asphalt, for a true nature is bigger than us. Makes us feel small, makes us prey even. But can’t seem to be able to do it with my phone, deadline gone and mr Linky not giving me anything but the logo..
But maybe I’ll do once at home and on open night.. Thanks for a good prompt and hosting anyways!
Starting from scratch with new logautism or just not being yet driven to comfort bubble can be eye opening! But, yeah, we all have something we like more than not..