Please describe how this version is more imagist than idiot I.
All joking aside, firestorm over at ModPo. My inbox has been lit up all night with responses to a thread I read earlier this afternoon in regards to students upset about the rubric results for our essays.
I ‘stole” this from the board. This is a very condensed version Al Filreis posted a while ago:
Below is a short version of the points I as instructor consider important to a reading of this poem as it follows the imagist principles. They are not distinct from what I would expect from anyone strictly following the assignment – which was to attempt to argue how version 2 more fully responds to imagist principles than version 1. These points (condensation, etc.) come directly from the manifesto. Hope this short version helps!
We now have a short version of the rubric (posted here and to the ModPo home page) and the longer detailed version. Here’s an even shorter one. A good essay considers version 2 as embodying the imagist principles by:
1) commenting on version 2’s brevity and condensation;
2) commenting on how the logical flow of version 2 is more direct and less complex than that of version 1;
3) commenting on the striking repetitive use of prepositions to create connections between the figures and thus create a clear image;
4) commenting on the subject position of the absent speaker/observer to reinforce the imagistic attempt at an objective rendering of the scene;
5) commenting on the poem’s possible nod to painterly or poetic tradition in order to break from symbolism as imagism does.
What is truly wonderful about all of this…I think I NOW halfway understand the minute points of imagist poetry that I would not have had I not utterly failed the assignment. Now when I compare version I to version II there is an Understanding of what bullet point 3 of manifesto meant – freedom of subject choice. There is a True grasp of bullet point 4, that though Imagist are not painters, they harness the ability for a painterly ‘portraiture’ with exactness of language.
If we delve a bit deeper, utilizing the above brief rubric, and re-read version I & II, there is no denying how II is by far able to defend the ideas of the Imagist manifesto whilst addressing such interesting concepts of subjectivity and poetic tradition.
Before today, my interpretation of subjectivity was in reference of subject, i.e. subjective/objective. What I’ve since deduced is that subjectivity is in relation to the one not of the scene – the observer. How does WCW position the scene to infer relation of object to subject (as I write this, I’m still a bit fuzzy). The answer, however, as clearly drawn in version II, is how he uses ‘pressed/ to the glass’. The child’s nose is pressed to the glass. We are (reader) he is (writer) observing this scene through a window. All of this draws a greater question – what are we observing? Who is observing. I now understand that despite WCW stating the poem is the machine, it doesn’t mean that the poem is devoid of emotion. It is just that the emotion should be generated from the concrete clear images, not decorative language.
Finally, bullet 5 of this rubric, which is most fascinating, the notion of poetic tradition, or to be devoid of symbolism in order to uphold the imagist manifesto. How clever (as it was pointed out today) that this may be a modern depiction of Mother & Child – Mother & Child a completely traditional symbolic sculpture – yet in this modern representation, could it not be an ironic twist of said symbolism…
Who knew 23 words would generate such a passionate outpouring. Who knew that a student body connected only by this digital fortress in the name of learning would be so vocal for a course not graded. Is this all in the name of ego? Meh, perhaps… or perhaps, that is the genius of This…Modern Poetry.