The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
William Carlos Williams
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’d like 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 comment on their work.
• 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 active URL when commenting to make it easier for the recipient of the comment to return visits.
Because of problems I’ve been having with Internet connectivity, I’m re-posting a prompt I offered in January, 2012. I checked out Mr. Linky and only a few of you were around back then, so I hope it will be fun for you.
I’ll be around to visit and comment, and look forward to your images.