Ezra Pound, Imagism, And The Influence Of The Orient



Few students of literature and poetry would describe the works of Ezra Pound as easily accessible, yet as with any other artist we may perhaps shed some light on his difficult canon by examining some interrelated topics that were central to his development as a poet. The movement called Imagism which he was instrumental in launching, the doctrine and method that comprised this philosophy, and the oriental influences of Chinese picture-writing and Japanese hokku poetry are all crucial for an understanding of Pound’s conception and definition of poetry.
The precise history and true essence of the concept referred to as Imagism is not an easy one to grasp or trace. Hugh Kenner, the noted ...

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or objectively (Spirit of Romance p.219). Pound insisted that the poem must present to the reader an active image, not a mere description of events or setting. Pound’s model for his directness was the prose of nineteenth century French authors such as Flaubert and DeMaupassant (Hakatuni p.48-49).
The second tenet of Imagism is to “use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation” of the image in question. Pound elaborates by saying: “The true poet is most easily distinguished from the false, when he trusts himself to the simplest expression, and when he writes without adjectives” (Spirit of Romance p.219). The image is to be presented in its purest sense, without the obstruction of needless description and “superfluous words”; one “moves the reader by clarity” (Kenner p.60). Pound believed that the timelessness of great writing was a direct result of its precision, and in this sense he took an almost scientific approach to writing. He believed ...

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images to be “seeds” full of potential energy capable of further metamorphosis, rather than an abstract emblem (like a symbol) (Hakatuni p.48). He believed that symbols are potentially evil because they trade the concrete, physical value of a word for an abstract intellectual concept. He still held to this belief as late as 1948, as this theme is addressed in the Pisan Cantos (Barbarese et al p.288).
Pound’s essay on “Vorticism” further explains his concept of the image as a charged vehicle for beneficial contemplation. The image is not a fixed or rational thought, but a “radiant node or cluster; it is what I can, and must perforce, call a vortex, from which, and through which, ideas ...

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Added: 10/24/2006 08:18:58 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1411
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