Some Imagist Poets: An Anthology

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1915.

First edition. 8vo. 200x145. pp. 96. Green paper-covered card. Black lettering and design on upper cover, black lettering on spine. A very good copy.

This is first of Amy Lowell’s anthologies of Imagist Poets, published in response to Ezra Pound’s 1914 anthology, Des Imagistes which included Lowell’s work. The Imagist movement had a short and fractious life. It began in 1908, when poet T.E. Hulme formed a group of poets, including Ezra Pound, as the “School of Images.” Hulme brought these poets together to discuss elements of poetic craft, with particular attention to the vers libre of the French Symbolists and Japanese haiku. Pound soon assumed control of the group (as was his wont) and adopted the term Imagiste.

In this volume, Lowell limits the number of poets to six, four of whom had been included in Pound’s anthology. In the preface to this 1915 anthology, Lowell sets out the six guiding principles of the movement, with the aim of clarifying Imagism’s focus on precision and cadence, and providing a historical context for the practices. It was an influential essay, stiring up much debate and leading to two further anthologies.