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Ezra Pound

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Topics: Poetry, Ezra Pound
Sienna Schaal
February 12, 2012
American Literature
Short Essay

Ezra Loomis Pound and the Imagism Movement

Ezra Loomis Pound once said, “If a man is not willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he is no good.” Ezra Pound was a man of great taste when it came to his poetry and ideas. He had a life size vision that made him famous and helped influence many other poets as well. His vision was to change the thought and structure of poetry into something more musical, rather than continuously paced evenly and mind numbing. Ezra Pound was a highly fascinating poet that endorsed the prominent idea of imagism significantly in all of his work. He is known for experimenting with his poetry and attempting as well as developing the imagism movement a little under one hundred years ago. Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho. He became increasingly interested in Japanese and Chinese poetry. The idea of the Haiku influenced the thought of imagism. Since he was fifteen years old he knew that he wanted to be a poet, but not just any poet. He had an opinion, and he was willing to take some risk to share that. Ezra Pound changed poetry in the world and allowed people to express themselves with it freely through imagism.
In the beginning of the 20th century, poetry was popular, but not like it is today. Genteel was the ideal type of poetry in that time. Richard Gilder’s poem, “The Woods the Bring the Sunset Near,” shows genteel poetry in that time. The first stanza of the poem reads: “The wind from out of the west is blowing, the homeward-wandering cows are lowing, dark grow the pine woods, dark and drear, - the woods that bring the sunset near.” This type of poetry was extremely dull, traditional, dreary and monotonous. The words in this poem are rather generic and vague; lacking excitement and pizzazz. The poem did not have specific details and it continued the idea of the every other line rhyme scheme that bores us today. Ezra Pound was not too fond of this unemotional, tedious rendition of the style of writing that he loved so much. He decided that he had to put an end to it, thankfully he did so and more. A group of British and American poets, including Ezra Pound, decided to influence a more open type of poetry, called imagism.
Imagism was a poetry movement in the early 20th century that allowed free verse and the expression of ideas and emotions through clear images and words. Ezra Pound was the first poet to create and support this innovative idea. He had a vision to change poetry from traditional and shallow writing to an expressive and invigorating style. He decided to experiment with changing his own dull poetry as best as he could and that is when Ezra Pound came upon the thought of imagism. Pound declared that he was going to change poetry and to, “compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome," and that is exactly what he did. Poets and writers today have a strong idea of why Ezra Pound decided to declare imagism in poetry. The acceptance of imagism and free verse let people convey their own feelings freely without following a traditional pattern of rhyme scheme and rhythm in their work.
Thanks to Ezra Pound, imagism is strong in modern poetry. His fascinating idea led to today’s widespread use of free verse. Pound realized that people who like to write poetry, like the idea of carefully chosen words put into their own type of verses, without meter. Ezra Pound said that the beliefs of imagism were that the subject in the story would have direct treatment, there would be no use of words that do not contribute, and to make sure to compose the rhythm in a musical, not monotonous way. Because of this remarkable innovation, numerous poets were able to write poetry the way they had always wanted. They were very successful at doing so, poets such as William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, William Smith and Gerald Raftery, and many more used this style of poetry. Today, people write poetry in many different styles such as: blank verse, odes, ballads, epics, allegories, free verse and sonnets. I think that most of the poetry styles written today are based upon the styles that were developed in the earlier 20th century, such as imagism. Because, the first step to having more developed styles of poetry was to step away from the traditional repetitive, boring style of genteel poetry and to move onto something more free, like imagism.
Ezra Pound influenced many different people, from ordinary students to famous poets, through his writing. He wrote astonishing poetry, such as “To Whistler, American,” “A Pact,” “In a Station of the Metro,” “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter,” “The Cantos,” and “Portrait d’une Femme” which is my favorite poem by Pound, it’s about a charming lady that Pound seemed fond of. The poem is full of colorful metaphors and a stimulating rhythmic scheme. However, his poetry was not the only thing that influenced people and their own writing. His design and proposal of imagism brought a new idea to the dull poetry that once was written. The idea of imagism contradicted the old and customary style of the genteel poetry that was known to be the way to write that way creatively. Even though the idea was different, writers and poets accepted it because they knew that changing the style of their expressive writing would benefit everyone by starting new ways to write openly. Ezra Pound’s stimulating discovery was awfully satisfying for all of the poets that annoyingly expressed their own ideas through genteel in the earlier 20th century. Thankfully, Ezra Loomis Pound did share his strong opinion on the change of poetry with his design of imagism and brought a new, more refreshing style to poetry that many people use today.

Works Cited

"Ezra Pound." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. .

"Imagism." Http://faculty.gvsu.edu. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. .

Hughes, Glenn. "Imagism & The Imagists." Google Books. Standford University Press. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. .

Baym, Nina, Wayne Franklin, Philip F. Gura, and Arnold Krupat. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2007. Print.

Cited: "Ezra Pound." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. . "Imagism." Http://faculty.gvsu.edu. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. . Hughes, Glenn. "Imagism & The Imagists." Google Books. Standford University Press. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. . Baym, Nina, Wayne Franklin, Philip F. Gura, and Arnold Krupat. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2007. Print.

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