A summary of Pound’s Imagist manifesto
Modernist poetry in English never had an official manifesto, but there are several documents which conceivably have a claim to the de facto title: T. E. Hulme’s ‘A Lecture on Modern Poetry’ (1908), for instance, or T. S. Eliot’s ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ (1919). Another potential claimant is Ezra Pound’s short essay ‘A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’, which was published in Poetry magazine in 1913 and does have the right to the title ‘Imagist manifesto’. Since Imagism was the starting-point for much modernist English poetry, ‘A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’ is worth exploring, summarising, and analysing here. You can read the full text here.
‘Imagisme’ (the final ‘e’ was Pound’s attempt to give the word a French sound, after Symbolisme; it was quickly, and quietly, dropped) began in the British Museum tea-room in 1912, when Ezra Pound declared to his ex-girlfriend Hilda Doolittle and her new boyfriend Richard Aldington that they were both ‘Imagist poets’, and the co-founders of a new poetic movement. (Pound also suggested Doolittle sign her poems simply as ‘H. D.’.) Read the rest of this entry
The greatest poems by William Blake
William Blake (1757-1827) is one of the key figures of English Romanticism, and a handful of his poems are universally known thanks to their memorable phrases and opening lines. In this post we’ve chosen what we consider to be ten of the best William Blake poems, along with links to each of them.
‘Jerusalem’. The hymn called ‘Jerusalem’ is surrounded by misconceptions, legend, and half-truths. Blake wrote the words which the composer Hubert Parry later set to music, but Blake didn’t call his poem ‘Jerusalem’, and instead the famous words that form the lyrics of the hymn are merely one part of a longer poem, a poem which Blake called Milton. The poem has been read as a satire of the rampant jingoism and Christian feeling running through England during the Napoleonic Wars, and has even been described as anti-patriotic, despite the patriotic nature of the hymn it inspired. Read the rest of this entry