The vicinity of things – Ezra Pound’s imagism in the poetry of Basil Bunting and Simon Armitage
The position of Imagism in 20th-century literature is, to some, so strong that any association of a poet with Ezra Pound, H.D., Richard Aldington, or Amy Lowell will easily create a bundle of comments touching the historical, theoretical and comparative surface of the subject, rather than tracing the actual details of this often quite formal affinity. The protean character of different forms of imagist (as well as objectivist and vorticist) verse together with its resonant influence justifies the claim made by the English critic and poet Graham Hough in his Image and Experience: Studies in Literary Revolution that the ideas of Imagism are central to contemporary poetics (Graham Hough quoted in Engelking 1991: 190). Similarly, we may agree with William Pratt who, in three prefaces to the subsequent editions of his 1963 anthology The Imagist Poem, argues that almost all the masters of 20th-century poetry were in a sense all imagists (Engelking 1991: 190). Hugh Kenner seems to confirm this verdict in his landmark study The Pound Era, where he observes that Imagism “created and continues to create its disturbing turbulence” (Kenner 1971: 173). These generalizing statements are noteworthy insofar as they draw attention to one important thing – it is possible to appreciate Imagism not only as a fascinating experiment, but also as a rich source of borrowings and a reference point for a discussion of twentieth century poetry at large (cf. Wącior 2004: 13). Imagism represents a number of poetic strategies that are in evidence not...
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