Imagism, interpretation and education

Jenny Mackness, Sept 27, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a whole school of thought in 20th century writing focused on "clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images" (as the imagist school would represent it). We see it expressed everywhere, from Wittgensteinian architecture (and thought), to Hemingway prose. I confess to being a fan; when I read some bloggers (Lanny Arvan, take a bow) the excess verbiage actually causes me pain. That's why I think the 100-300 word essay is the perfect form for me. Jenny Mackness suggests that "completely opens up the poem to an infinite number of interpretations." I don't know - describing faces as petals in a forest opens a range of interpretations, but referencing the whole as an "apparition" in one word produces a mental image of crystal clarity. Related: Bob Sprankle is publishing a poem a day. Not a bad idea.

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