Robert Gray-Imagism

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Good afternoon Class. Robert gray is an imagist, meaning that his poetry relies heavily on his use of imagery and sensual imagery to create a response from the reader. In his poems Flames and Dangling wire, and Old House, he uses various techniques to create different tones to help the reader create a mental picture. Some of the techniques he uses include comparative language and alliteration, as well as structural elements to effect the senses of the reader, resulting in graphic and sensual imagery. His use of imagery is powerful in that it is relatable and simple, enabling him to successfully communicate his ideas to the responder. The poem ‘Flames and Dangling Wire’ is quite a cynical poem in that it expresses Gray’s negative opinions on changing society. His use of powerful, descriptive language creates visual imagery in the reader’s mind, often leaving them with a feeling of disgust to the way in which we live. In stanza one the comparison “like fingers spread and dragged to smudge” tells the reader Gray’s opinion that humans are dirtying the land, it brings the visual image of tribal war paint suggesting we’re perhaps at war with the environment. Throughout the poem there is a metaphor of the tip to a graveyard, each time reinforcing the darkness of the poem, creating a feeling of unease towards the tip. An example of this is when Gray compares the cars to skulls. This creates a visual image of dead, perhaps burnt out cars, empty like the skulls which they’re compared to. The use of alliteration in stanza six gives the reader strong imagery, the repetition of the ‘S’ shows Gray’s disgust, passing it on to the responder. You can almost taste the “sour smoke” being described leaving the reader with a powerful feeling of repulse. In the final line of “Flames and Dangling Wire” the visual image of “a coast of light” brings a glimmer of hope to the poem.

In the poem “Old House” Gray uses a series of images in order to present his ideas. Rather than a...
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