Imagism was invented by Ezra Pound and was dedicated to replacing traditional lines of poetry with more concise use of language and new rhythms. Imagist poems were written in free verse and followed many rules, such as: to use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.
Along with Ezra Pound, the Imagism movement was introduced by Richard Aldington and Hilda Doolittle (H.D.). Other poets of the movement include D. H. Lawrence, Amy Lowell, and John Gould Fletcher. Here is a poem from John Gould Fletcher from “Arizona Poems” March 1916:
Cliff Dwelling, by John Gould Fletcher
The canyon is heaped with stones and undergrowth.
The heat that falls from the sky
Beats at the walls, slides and reverberates
Down in a wave of gray dust and white fire,
Choking the breath and eyes.
The ponies straggle and scramble
Half way up, along the canyon wall.
Their listless riders seldom lift
A weary hand to guide their feet.
Stones are loosened and clatter
Down to the sun-baked depths.
Nothing ever has lived here;
Nothing could ever live here:
Two hawks, screaming and wheeling,
Rouse a few eyes to look aloft.
Boldly poised in a shelf of the stone,
Tiny walls look down at us,
Towers with little square windows.
When we plod up to them,
And dismounting fasten our horses
Suddenly a blue-gray flock of doves
Bursts in a flutter of wings from the shadows.
Shards of pots and shreds of straw,
Empty brush-roofed rooms in darkness:
And the sound of water tinkling—
A clock that ticks the centuries off in silence.
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