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Subject Index
  1. Adventure
  2. Animals
  3. Beauty
  4. Bereavement
  5. Birds
  6. Carpe Diem
  7. Children
  8. Dance
  9. Death
  10. Descriptions
  11. Faith & Religion
  12. Family & Home
  13. Flowers
  14. Food & Drink
  15. Friendship
  16. Garden
  17. Heroes
  18. History
  19. Holidays
  20. Humor
  21. Images
  22. Imagination
  23. Inspiration
  24. Life
  25. Love
  26. Machines
  27. Marriage
  28. Memorials
  29. Memory
  30. Months
  31. Music
  32. Mystery
  33. Nature
  34. Parodies
  35. Parting
  36. Patriotism
  37. People
  38. Places
  39. Poetry
  40. Protest
  41. Rhyme & Rhythm
  42. Satire
  43. School
  44. Sea & Sailing
  45. Seasons
  46. Song
  47. Sport
  48. Stages of Life
  49. Story Telling
  50. Time
  51. Time of Day
  52. Travel
  53. War
  54. Weather
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Subject Index - Images

Durer - Melancholia and I - Click for full image

Poetry provides a way of seeing things with your eyes closed. Of capturing a scene, a portrait, or an event in words, and doing it in such a way that the poet can sometime convey much more than meets the eye. Back before there were ways of capturing images, transmitting them, saving them, or duplicating them - before video, before film, before photographs, before the daguerreotype - there were not many ways of sharing an image. Poetry provided a way of seeing something in words - and memorable poetry let you keep that image with you.

There was a significant change in poetry written in English in the early part of the 20th century. Much of the excessive formality and wordiness of the Victorian era went by the wayside as what Harriet Monroe and Alice Henderson called The New Poetry rose in popularity. One of the movements with this trend was the rise of Imagist poets - those that tried to find concise and striking words to describe what they saw. Chief among these were Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington, and Hilda Doolittle (who signed her works H.D.). Pound is credited with originating the term Imagist, and dubbing H.D. as an Imagiste.

Of course there are many more traditional works that describe visual images by a wide range of poets. Many non-English forms of verse do this as well, including the Japanese Haiku and ancient Greek lyric forms that the Imagists used as a starting point. The imagist techniques of clarity and brevity are also frequently applied to other senses. William Carlos Williams wrote a number of these. Included here are also some descriptions of images in Art - Melancholia&I is five centuries old and still debated.

  1. In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound
    Pound's famously brief couplet.

  2. The Great Figure by William Carlos Williams
    A remembered image amidst a chaos of sound.

  3. A young Ezra Pound
  4. Carmen de Boheme by Hart Crane
    A tumult of images, sounds and more in this portrait of...what? The dancer? The music? The experience?

  5. L'Art, 1910 by Ezra Pound
    Another of Pound's couplets, this time multi-sensory.

  6. To Waken an Old Lady by William Carlos Williams
    Perhaps more of a video than a snapshot.

  7. A Landscape by John Cunningham
    A literal and traditional landscape - makes me think of a John Constable painting.

  8. Venetian Interior by Elinor Wylie
    Wylie too can be a master of brevity.

  9. Durer's 'Melencholia' by Edward Dowden
    Comments on Durer's most enigmatic engraving.

  10. Song by H.D.
    A portrait in white and gold.

  11. An Image from a Past Life by William Butler Yeats
    The elaborate star-light has thrown reflections
    On the dark stream,
    Till all the eddies gleam;

  12. Oread by H.D.
    I can almost feel the wind.

  13. Elinor Wylie
  14. A Description of a City Shower by Jonathan Swift
    A complex web of city street scenes - but the last lurid stanza brings out Swift's unvarnished opinions.

  15. Willow poem by William Carlos Williams
    The leaves cling and grow paler,
    swing and grow paler
    over the swirling waters of the river

  16. Pastoral by William Carlos Williams
    This one sounds more like Eliot.

  17. Irradiations by John Gould Fletcher
    The late Vernon Appoy used to say that the best paintings always have a spark of movement in them; Fletcher achieves this in his series of ten images.

  18. Alba by Ezra Pound
    An imagist simile.

  19. Queen Anne's Laceby William Carlos Williams
    Portrait of a rather sensual flower.

  20. A Route of Evanescence by Emily Dickinson
    An unusual poem for Dickinson.

  21. November Night by Adelaide Crapsey
    Not all images are visual; you can hear this one.

  22. Leonardo's 'Monna Lisa' by Edward Dowden
    Comments on the famous portrait, whose expression is:
    Serene, victorious, inaccessible;

  23. DaVinci - Monna Lisa - Click for full image
  24. Preludes by T. S. Eliot
    Ending in the famous simile:
    The worlds revolve like ancient women
    Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

  25. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens
    I was of three minds
    Like a tree
    In which there are three blackbirds.

  26. The Villain by W. H. Davies
    A dark personification in an otherwise enlightened scene.

  27. A Painted Fan by Louise Chandler Moulton
    ROSES and butterflies snared on a fan,
    All that is left of a summer gone by;

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