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In a brief, accessible, and inexpensive book, Bob Blaisdell and Dover Thrift have created a fine selection of poems from the "Imagist" movement which changed the direction of American and English poetry in the early 20th Century. The precise nature of "Imagism" has been much discussed. Some of the more famous, succinct forumlations of its creed were "Not ideas of the thing but the thing itself." and, simply, "make it new". Imagism wanted to turn away from late 19th Century poetry with what the new writers perceived as its sometimes stilted diction, involuted syntax, forced rhymes, and forced sentiment and return to the object, to a way of seeing things freshly through precise speech. In Bob Blaisdell's brief introduction to this book, he discusses the principles of Imagism as Richard Aldington, the first poet to appear in the collection, formulated them: 1.Direct treatment of the subject; 2.As few adjectives as possible; 3. A hardness as of cut stone; 4. Individuality of rhythm; 5. A whole lot of dont's; 6. The exact word.
W.C. Williams's poem "To a Solitary Disciple" (page 137 of the collection) offers a good poetic summation of imagist practice. It begins:
"Rather notice, mon cher,
that the moon is
tilted above
the point of the steeple
than that its color
is shell-pink.
Rather observe
that it is early morning
than that the sky
is smooth
as a turquoise"
The collection includes 180 poems by 17 poets. The selections were culled from the pages of the "little magazines" of poetry that presented works of the new movement between 1913 and 1922. The poets receiving the most space are, understandably enough, D.H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and W.C. Williams.
It will be a joy to a reader coming to these poets for the first time. The book also includes many lesser known but important writers such as Richard Aldington, H.D. Amy Lowell, and others. Thus the book, short and accessible as it is, does not constitute simply a collection of favorites. It is a fine introduction to imagism and to the spirit of our modern age including both well-known and lesser-known figures.
This book can be enjoyed and savored simply for what it is -- an inexpensive collection of many of the poems illustrating the modernist temprament. As such, the book will offer many hours of reading and rereading. Equally important, the book could also serve as an introduction for those who want to learn more, to explore further the development of American or English poetry in the Twentieth Century.
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on March 7, 2013
I love the actual size of the book, the amount of authors (some I've never heard of before), and its brevity. This is a perfect introduction to Imagist Poetry if you are exploring on your own time.
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on January 14, 2015
I should have bought the hard copy. Unlike a novel that you read from cover to cover, you look at different poems in random order. I find it more difficult to do that on the Kindle then with a hard copy book.
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on February 28, 2001
I bought this book because of the low price and enjoy because of the vast amount of work. Yeah.
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on May 18, 2014
This anthology is a good starting point for people interesting in learning about Imagist poets and their work. The authors and poems selected are outstanding, ranging from Richard Aldington to Williams Carlos Williams. The final poem in the anthology, "The Rose," is a masterwork of imagist poetry by John Cournos.
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on January 1, 2015
More of what I love.
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on December 11, 2012
the one poem that encouraged me to buy it as a small girft for friends was the only poem I liked!
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on January 23, 2016
Very interesting.
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on January 18, 2011
Rimbaud steals the show in this exceptional anthology of poets. The introduction does a sufficient job of delineating what qualities are required for an imagist poem to be an imagist poem.
Not much to say about them, since the experience of the poem itself is the point.
Gossip then: hitchhiking with dusty boots, a harmonica, a guitar, "Imagist Poetry" and a name stolen from non-imagist poet Dylan Thomas, he unlocked the box of limitation and became the wellspring for a river of lyrics that enliven us today.
It's as simple as that
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