How do the images used by poets during the "Imagism" period relate to the larger political realities of the period?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ezra Pound invented imagism in 1912 when he helped publish the poetry of Hilda Doolittle, calling her HD, Imagiste as a way to call attention to her work.He defined it as "clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images." In this way, it was a movement away from the more elaborate language of the Victorian and Georgian periods that was abstract or flowery or both, and, in Pound’s view, imprecise. For Pound, an image arose from a moment in time, and in this way stopped time and gave order to an otherwise disorderly world—and ways of thinking about the world. For Pound, this need for order, this insistence that the poem should have no other words than those that directly give rise to the image, eventually grew into his fascism, an authoritative view of the world that was very much concerned with order. However, not all imagists became fascists, HD providing an excellent example of a poet who employed imagist techniques to portray female experience visually and emotionally.  It served to clarify thought and question the social order, including power relationships, rather than seek authority. Each "imagist" poet used the strategies of Imagism a different way, for the poetry of Williams, HD and Lowell is very different in its political agenda from that of Pound. Then again, it is important to remember that Pound was not a fascist in 1912; I am suggesting his authoritative view was an aspect of his imagism and his later fascist politics.

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The Open Boat

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