Imagism was a short-lived but influential movement in English and American poetry that flourished during the years 1912 to 1917. Self-consciously modernist in their aesthetic outlook, the Imagists sought to dislodge the diction, sentimentality, moralizing tone, and conventional forms of Victorian poetry, and instead to concentrate on the precise rendering of images in free verse. Influenced by the ideas of the poet and philosopher T. E. Hulme, Ezra Pound and F. S. Flint first documented the theory of Imagism in London early in the second decade of the twentieth century. Their ideals for the new movement appeared in Flint's "Imagisme," printed in the periodical Poetry in March of 1913, which became the manifesto of the fledgling group. Together Flint and Pound devised the three primary precepts of Imagism, calling for conciseness, musical rhythm, and "the direct treatment of the 'thing' whether subjective or objective." These theories were soon after put into practice in the first Imagist anthology, edited by Pound and entitled Des Imagistes (1914). The collection featured poems by Pound, Richard Aldington, and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)—all members of the coterie—as well as verse by several young poets whose writing bore affinities to that of the Imagists, including Amy Lowell, John Gould Fletcher, James Joyce, and William Carlos Williams.
Tensions led to Pound's break with the Imagists less than a year after the publication of Des Imagistes to form a related movement called Vorticism. Meanwhile, the American Amy Lowell had arrived in England and become the group's de facto head after Pound's departure. She successfully endeavored to bring more poets into the fold—including D. H. Lawrence—and to popularize Imagism across the Atlantic. Each year between 1915 and 1917 Lowell edited a volume of the anthology Some Imagist Poets. After a period of considerable interest, the Imagist movement, as such, had run its course by 1917. Many members of the group, however, continued to write in accordance with Imagist precepts. A final Imagist Anthology, edited by Aldington, appeared in 1930, and despite its tardiness attests to certain enduring qualities among the writings of these early modernists. In the ensuing decades, critics have attempted to assess the overall impact of the Imagists and see in their typically spare poems a pre-figuring of the high modernist verse of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land and Pound's Cantos, as well as an influence on the poetry of William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, E. E. Cummings, and others.