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Some of the main characteristics of imagist poems are free verse and lack of rhyming pattern. It was a modern movement, so there was an attempt to move away from traditional poem forms and conventions. The idea was also to transform poetry from the sickly sentimental poetry that came before.
The imagists also focused on the "image," hence the name, by using very carefully chosen and revealing language. Look at the William Carlos Williams' poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow":
- so much depends
- a red wheel
- glazed with rain
- beside the white
- So few words, but such sharp images.
As defined by Wikipedia,
"imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language."
This means that imagism is exemplified by a poem which does not beat around the bush by describing its subject in flowery words with heavy use of literary devices which need analysis in order to grasp the true, deep meaning of the poem. For example, it avoids meter and rhyming patterns associated with Shakespearean literature and the work of other well-known traditional poets. Imagistic works simply address their subject with the least number of words possible.
Thus, the characteristics of imagism are:
1. Normally short and to the point. Unnecessary gloating words about the subject are shunned, so generally few words are used to talk about the subject.
2. Strict discussion of the subject. The poem talks specifically about a subject's features without drifting to compare aspects of these features to other objects. Thus, it does not commonly utilize figurative devices which require comparisons such as simile, metaphor or personification.
3. Has a modern vibe. Imagistic works are not composed using the traditional rhythm of the metronome, but have moved on to musical rhythm composure.
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