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  Imagism was a poetic movement founded primarily by Ezra Pound in 1912. Its purpose was to dispense with the superfluous, to present clear images in simple words and comprehensible syntax, and generally to sweep away the emotional grandiosities of 19th-century poetry. As well as Pound himself, the Imagists included Hilda Doolittle, James Joyce, Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams (who developed the style in the 1930s into an even more rarefied style of his own, objectivism, in which the poet tries to keep personality rigorously out of what he or she describes). The work of the Imagists was often no more than tersely coy, and 20th-century poetry has never really recovered from the aura of pretentious preciousness with which they invested it. At its best, however, for example much of Pound\'s early poetry, it transcends affectation and genuinely achieves the stripped-down clarity of expression and emotional exactness to which it aspires. Not only that, but the stylistic experiments of the Imagists had an incalculable effect on most of the great English-language poets of the the century, from W.H. Auden and T.S. Eliot to John Berryman, Robert Graves and Robert Lowell. KMcL

Further reading J.B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: Imagism 1907-1917.



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