we begin modernism with imagism - H.D.'s "Sea Rose"

Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 15:10:56 -0400 (EDT)


Oooooooh 88ers:

Okay, here we go. We begin chapter 2. We start with imagism--one of the
first movements within the modernist movement. I won't "lecture" here on
the listserv about imagism, because the chapter 2 web page


offers several introductions and definitions. I'll *assume* you've read
(and listened to) those and are ready to discuss imagist poems.

Below is the entire text of H.D.'s (Hilda Doolittle's) poem "Sea Rose" of
1916. It's said to be a perfectly representative instance of imagism.
Maybe so, maybe not--but let's assume it for now. Assuming this is an
instance of imagism, use what you see in the poem to make generalizations
about imagism as a whole. 

Let's start a list, as we did with Whitman, of imagist qualities or
characteristics evident in this poem.

I'll start with:

* radically precise
* implies a dislike of sentimentality (about "roses")



H.D., "Sea Rose" (1916) 

Rose, harsh rose, 
marred and with stint of petals, 
meagre flower, thin, 
spare of leaf, 

more precious 
than a wet rose 
single on a stem -- 
you are caught in the drift. 

Stunted, with small leaf, 
you are flung on the sand, 
you are lifted 
in the crisp sand 
that drives in the wind. 

Can the spice-rose 
drip such acrid fragrance 
hardened in a leaf? 

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