In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. --Ezra Pound Read this poem.
This is the kind of poem that makes people throw up their hands and say, "Well, geez, I could write that! " Aren’t poems... Longer? Fancier? More complicated? Wait, that’s a poem?
Why do you think it took Pound a year to compose it? And it took a YEAR to write!
First, have you ever seen a cherry blossom tree or an apple tree that has just bloomed in spring? Imagine a tree like that, just after it has rained heavily. Let’s start over.
Imagine you lived in Paris in the 1910s. Now...
Engines were not as “green” as they are today, so trains and cars spit out black exhaust, leaving dark dust on everything. People had not yet become aware of the dangers of smoking, so the abundant smoke of cigarettes coated everything, too. Paris 1910
You have gone down into the Metro, the subway system of Paris.
The walls are smudged with soot and smoke. As you stand on the platform, you look across the tracks at the platform on the other side. Your eyesight isn’t the greatest, and you’ve forgotten your glasses, so mostly you see a row of light-colored faces surrounded by darkness. As you look, a picture comes into your head. You have gone down into the Metro, the subway system of Paris.
In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. --Ezra Pound Now you’re ready.
What is “poetic” about the poem? Do you think it needs to be longer or have more words? In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. --Ezra Pound What do you think?
Pound originally thought he could best capture this vision in a painting. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a good painter. So he wrote a 30-line poem, which he didn’t like. He pitched the long version in the waste bin. Six months later, he wrote a shorter poem, but didn’t like that one either and threw it away. Behind the Poetry
Finally, a full year later, he had been reading short Japanese poems called haikus, and he figured he would try to adapt this form to his vision in the Metro. The result, which was published in 1913, is one the most famous and influential works in modern poetry. Behind the Poetry
This poem is extremely important in the history of modern literature. It is one of the monuments of the artistic movement known as "Imagism.” Basically, Pound and his poet friends were sick of people using lots of images as ornaments to "decorate" their writing and make themselves sound smarter. Welcome to Imagist Poetry
To the Imagists, the best way to capture an experience is not to use more and more words. No, the best way is to pull your hair out to find exactly the right words, which means using as few of them as possible. Pound and his poet friends believed that words can express anything, even if it takes an entire year to find the right words. The Exact Words
“ To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.” Imagism in a Nutshell
There were 3 rules to writing Imagist poetry. Direct treatment of the subject. The poem should not try to use fancy language to talk about whatever is being written about. Use no word that does not contribute to the presentation. Use as few words as possible. Compose in the rhythm of the musical phrase, not in the rhythm of the metronome. Create new, original rhythms instead of relying on the rigid, boring ones. This is called free verse. The Rules Of Imagism
What Imagist rules does “In a Station of the Metro” follow? The Poem In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. --Ezra Pound The Rules Don’t use fancy language. Use as few words as possible. Don’t use stiff, structured rhythms.
It consists of just one image expressed with absolute precision. Nothing else. It uses only a few precise but ordinary words. If this poem was an Olympic sharpshooter, it would earn a gold medal. It does not rhyme or follow a strict rhythm structure. What is Imagist about “In a Station of the Metro”
Autumn All day I have watched the purple vine leaves Fall into the water. And now in the moonlight they still fall, But each leaf is fringed with silver. --Amy Lowell More Imagist Poems
Fog The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. --Carl Sandburg More Imagist Poems
Autumn All day I have watched the purple vine leaves Fall into the water. And now in the moonlight they still fall, But each leaf is fringed with silver. --Amy Lowell Fog The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. --Carl Sandburg
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