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date: 14 June 2024

Imagism and American Poetslocked

Imagism and American Poetslocked

  • Scott Ashley


In the fall of 1914, John Gould Fletcher, a son of Little Rock, Arkansas, suggested to his compatriot and fellow imagist poet, Amy Lowell, that they should found a new anthology in opposition to Ezra Pound's Des Imagistes (1914). Although Pound, himself a native of Idaho, had included the work of some six Americans—out of a total of eleven—in his anthology, Fletcher's ambitions were signaled by the name he suggested to Lowell, “Young America.” Two years later, even after Lowell had taken charge of the imagist movement through the publication of the annual Some Imagist Poets (1915–1917), Fletcher was still harping on the same theme: set up a “New America” group and ignore the second-rate English poets clinging to their coattails. Sadly, historians seldom find the testimony of the chronically jealous or of the paranoid satisfactory, and John Gould Fletcher exhibited both characteristics in their fullest bloom. If we want to reach a fuller understanding of the imagist movement and its place in literary history, then we must always bear in mind that despite having its strongest practitioners in the Americans Pound and H.D. and the tang of American nationalism in many of its doctrines, in terms of geographical location, intellectual origin, and even personnel, there was little distinctively “American” about it.


  • North American Literatures

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