HARRIET MONROE AND THE "IMAGISTS"

In 1910-11, the established Chicago poet Harriet Monroe made a trip to China to visit her sister, the wife of the American ambassador, and there undertook an intensive study of Chinese art. Upon her return to the U.S., Monroe founded Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, through which vehicle she introduced the Imagists and other "new poetry" to American readers.


Photograph of Harriet Monroe in Chinese dress with a citation for "further[ing] the cause of modern poetry." Vanity Fair 14:6. New York, August 1920.

Photograph of Harriet Monroe in Chinese dress with a citation for "further[ing] the cause of modern poetry."


The word "Imagiste" appeared for the first time in the U.S. in January 1913 with the publication of poems by H.D. in Harriet Monroe's Poetry. "Most important of all," claimed Monroe, as she sought in 1917 to define the single component that encapsulated the newness of this modernist verse,"these poets have bowed to winds from the East."


Harriet Monroe. editor. Poetry 1:4. Chicago, January 1913.

Harriet Monroe


F. S. Flint. "The History of Imagism." The Egoist 2:5. London, 1 May 1915.

F. S. Flint: "The History of Imagism."

Flint and Pound credited T. E. Hulme, who died in World War I, with the earliest Imagist poem. "Autumn"  has the clear-cut images they advocated.


Ezra Pound. "In a Station of the Metro." Poetry 2:1, Chicago, April 1913.

In a Station of the Metro

Haiku took America by storm about 1905, fostering writing parties and much bad verse. In Pound's hands, the year before he discovered Imagism, it has the traditional turn at the end, despite its non-traditional syllabic arrangement. The poem preceding it in Poetry is his "Pact" with Walt Whitman. Both Whitman and haiku inspired the Modernists.


The Twentieth Century: American Modernists:
Ezra Pound and Fenollosa
H.D., Amy Lowell and John Gould Fletcher
Katherine Anne Porter and Arthur Davison Ficke
Witter Bynner
Wallace Stevens
Eastern Themes and Modernist Theater; Eugene O'Neill
Thornton Wilder
William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore
E.E. Cummings and Gertrude Stein

Exhibition Introduction

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