Artist Robert Motherwell oft stated that painting was his thought’s medium. He explored his thinking whilst painting, concluding that he didn’t ever think about painting whilst painting. This seems a juxtaposition to the Modern poets who explore poetry within their poem – metapoetry. Granted, I’m still grappling with the idea of metapoetry, however, it is based more on the poet’s original intention. Do we readers infer too much?

The ModPo course is stepping in a different direction this week with a look at the Imagism movement. I’d read/heard of poets, H.D. and Ezra Pound, but knew not their association . A summation of imagism, via UPenn’s Al Filreis’s Poetry 88 online link:

   Name given to a movement in poetry, originating in 1912 and
   represented by Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, and others, aiming at clarity
   of expression through the use of precise visual images. In the early
   period often written in the French form Imagisme.


I hope to explore more regarding this tomorrow night after a live webcast. I’m not certain if the YouTube is available to non-students while filming, but will link to this blog after the fact. If you are interested in following the Twitter feed, a hashtag of #ModPo should work for you. The course tweets under @ModPoPenn.

As an aside, I started a project several days ago exploring a George Oppen article on poetic theory. A work schedule change and our ModPo essay peer-reviews got in the way. The project is not dead.

Dead – death – darkness – it is a curious theme that runs deep in Emily Dickinson poems, but not an area of focus since we’ve moved on to other poets. Tonight’s close read of Ezra Pound’s, “In a Station on the Metro”, though, had me walking that dark corridor that I find ironically refreshing. Many shall never draw this parallel to the ‘Metro’ poem, however, I’m okay with owning a slightly different read. That, my friend, is why I call poetry art — we have That freedom.

Here is the poem, with an intro by Ezra Pound, with several critical analysis from experts in the field.

The apparition      of these faces       in the crowd

Petals      on a wet, black      bough.


Personally, I found Steve Ellis’s critique most interesting for he focuses on punctuation usage. Pound altered this poem several times over the years, eliminating the spaces and changing the use of colon, comma, and semi-colon. I found the loss of the initial spacing (as shown above) changed the poem dramatically — any Eastern influence faded when the poem was shrunk. Hopefully, a bit of this will be discussed tomorrow night.

(Sidebar:  I wonder how poets keep their voice while studying poetry. I’ve become terribly self-conscious about picking up the pen. The muse is in hiding, not certain if she can produce something meta-poetic. I almost wrote a poem about stillness on my other blog, but froze when I pondered form/approach, etc. Too  much thinking — I think it is time to channel my inner Breton again.)



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  1. Pingback: ModPo and Me: Swamped (Part Three) « A Patchwork Life

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