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Synopsis

Imagism was a brief, complex yet influential poetic movement of the early 1900s, a time of reaction against late nineteenth-century poetry which Ezra Pound, one of the key imagist poets, described as ‘a doughy mess of third-hand Keats, Wordsworth … half-melted, lumpy’. In contrast, imagist poetry, although riddled with conflicting definitions, was broadly characterized by brevity, precision, purity of texture and concentration of meaning: as Pound stated, it should ‘use no superfluous word, no adjective, which does not reveal something … it does not use images as ornaments. The image itself is the speech’. It was this freshness and directness of approach which means that, as Peter Jones says in his invaluable Introduction, ‘imagistic ideas still lie at the centre of our poetic practice’.

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