Des Imagistes: an anthology


Imagism was a small but influential poetry movement that flourished between 1912 and 1917. It was crucial in the development of modernist literature. Rebelling against Romantic and Victorian verbosity, Imagists abandoned poetic metre and traditional narratives. Instead they cultivated short, exact poems in vers libre (free verse) built around distilled, emotionally-intense single images that often depicted the natural world. They drew influence from Japanese haiku as well as ancient Greek lyric poetry.

The movement was led by Ezra Pound and, later, Amy Lowell. It included British and American poets – notably the founding trio Pound, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Richard Aldington. Although Imagism is typically attributed to Pound, the movement was spurred by T E Hulme, who led an avant garde poetry club in the late 1910s and developed the ideas of casting off metre and creating pure ‘images’.

In 1914 Pound edited the group’s first published collection of poetry, Des Imagistes: an anthology. It includes diverse works by 11 poets including Pound, H.D., Aldington, Lowell, James Joyce and William Carlos Williams. Bound in green boards, it was published by Harold Monro’s Poetry Bookshop in London and by Albert & Charles Boni in New York. The anthology contains archetypal examples of Imagist technique such as Pound’s ‘Ts’ai Chi’h’, a poem of three short lines that captures petals falling into a fountain.

Lowell edited the three following anthologies.

Full title:
Des Imagistes: an anthology
1914, London
Poetry Bookshop
Ezra Pound, H.D. [Hilda Doolittle]
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Ezra Pound: By Ezra Pound, from PERSONAE, copyright © 1926 by Ezra Pound. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

H.D.: ‘Hermes of the Way’ and ‘Hermonax’ from Collected Poems by Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) reprinted by permission of Pollinger Limited ( Copyright © 2014 by The Schaffner Family Foundation. Used by permission. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

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