Des Imagistes: An Anthology of Imagism

The journal I chose is called Des Imagistes, this particular journal was a yearly anthology published by The Glebe from the year 1914 until 1917. The anthology wanted to accomplish putting Imagism at the forefront of the writing industry, mainly through poetry. The first edition of the magazine was organized by Ezra Pound, an American poet who was a successful poetry figure of his time. As the title suggests, the use of poetic imagism will surely be evident throughout the poems within the anthology. Each issue has a variety of poets, many of whom have work throughout all of the issues published between its few years as a journal. There is no particular context in which the journal is written, rather, Des Imagistes is a tool for authors of different opinions, views, and backgrounds to showcase their work next to other great poets. The main concept in common with every piece is, of course, the imagism that these poets wished to invoke in their work. 

This journal doesn’t have much of a design, rather each poem is printed on its own page; the design isn’t needed because the poetry will speak for itself and we as readers can picture images in our heads of the poets’ words (hence imagism). I like how clean and simple this journal looks; today most journals love to focus on the visuals and designs, which of course is important, but letting the work speak on its own can be very powerful. The page that caught my attention is titled “In A Garden” by Amy Lowell. Her poem is short but well written and when I read it, I can picture what she describes, and it makes her poetry more beautiful and enticing. Her poem talks of a garden, but it is also very much about love: 

And I wished for night and you. I wanted to see you in the swimming pool, White shining in the silver-flecked water. While the moon rode over the garden, High in the arch of night, And the scent of the lilacs was heavy with stillness.

Lowell, Amy. “In A Garden.”

These closing lines are a perfect example of imagism, I can see a person swimming in a pool, the moon shining brilliantly, and I can see lilacs filling the garden. I love how we don’t get a sense of romance until the end, multi-themed poems are my favorite. Scanning through the whole journal, much of the work expresses nature in some way which should be expected. It is much easier to create an image from something that is so easily visualized. 

Works Cited:

Lowell, Amy. “In A Garden.” Des Imagistes, vol. 1, no. 5, Feb. 1917. The Modernist Journals Project, http://www.modjourn.org/index.html.

3 thoughts on “Des Imagistes: An Anthology of Imagism”

  1. I prefer texts that are more simple and clean looking also! Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” always comes to mind for simplicity, because the front and back of the cover are practically the same and the text on the inside of the book is small and straightforward. The simplicity of the text and acceptance of white space makes me think of Shel Silverstein. Sorry if I mentioned these authors more than once, but I think they are a great example of writers who do not worry about the norms of formatting and physical appeal – they instead place great emphasis on the text and the interpretation of the text by the reader.

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  2. H, Check out this text, which will be a useful foundation for your paper: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69409/a-retrospect-and-a-few-donts. These two statements outline Pound’s principles of “Imagism”–the first of which he wrote in 1912, two years before the publication of Des Imagistes. It was a movement that meant to strip away “excess,” to more directly get at “the thing.” This directness required poets to dispense with traditional meter and, instead, aim for a more natural kind of verbal rhythm. Read Pound’s statement and consider the degree to which Amy Lowell’s work realizes these principles. It’s a very interesting question, actually. Pound called her work “Amy-ism”–in other words, not quite real/pure “imagism.” (See here: https://www.academia.edu/36964391/Amygism_or_Imagism_Re-Vision_of_Amy_Lowells_Discourse_of_Imagism.)

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  3. I hadn’t understood what imagism was–you explained it beautifully! I love the use of it in the end of her poem. It really is a vivid description of a garden and longing for one’s love. Great choice of poet!

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