Thursday, October 12, 2006

W.W.E. Ross and Imagism

In looking at the verse of Canadian poet, W.W.E. Ross, Anne Compton has written one of the most cogent essays on Imagism, its connection to Impressionism and detailed in a wonderfully sensible narrative, some of the points between the two.

Compton looks at the undercurrents of Impressionism and how this visual perception influenced the whole of modern verse by unsettling the then contemporary way of using poetry.

Looking at Ross, she brings these items into consideration - items that appear as markers in his work and that can work as signposts along the route to Imagism:

  • A preoccupation with Nature in terms of those elements which mark its CHANGEABILITY.
  • WATER is the most frequent natural element, reflecting changeability.
  • IMAGES regarded as the purest acts of perception.
  • Use the RIGHT FORM for the RIGHT CONTENT, fit them together to produce something with a NEW DIMENSION. Synthesis.
  • Presentation and re-presentation of an object in successive stanzas to give the essence of transitoriness.
  • Individual images have monumental presence.
  • A poet places herself as a poetic figure in a certain ambiance or poetic habitat which she colors emotionally.
  • Technical aspects of Imagism include: lines that elaborate or qualify the preceding line; an effort to break down the sequential nature of a poem; weighting each word with equal value; searching for simultaneity.
  • Use of SHORT LINES.
  • Textual exploration of the world using COLOR, LIGHT and PLANE.
  • ACUTE AWARENESS OF JUNCTURES - the moment between stasis and change.
This very last characteristic resonates most with me in my efforts - that moment between daylight and dusk or the impending storm and the drop of rain, the present and the instant in which it transforms.

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