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Old 12-27-2009, 04:49 PM View Post #1 (Link) Imagery: Concrete and Purposeful
Isis (Offline)
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EDIT July 9 2012: The updated version is below. Rejoice!


This guide covers what imagery is, what forms it can take, a plethora of ways that you can use imagery in your poetry, and exercises for improving your imagery. It is the updated version of a guide I wrote in 2007, which can be found in the spoiler at the end of this thread. I’m always looking to update and improve my guides, so if you have questions, comments, arguments, additions, whatever please let me know!

What is imagery, and why do we care?

Imagery, at its best, isn’t just the background of a poem or a pretty veneer that draws attention from the ‘point’ the poet is trying to made – it can become the fabric of the poem, conveying the essential emotions and ideas. Imagery has the power to evoke and to illustrate, bringing out the response of the readers rather than pounding the expected response into their skulls.

Imagery is language that addresses the senses. It is a very flexible device and doesn’t have a structural formula, like the simile does; rather, anything that conveys sensory detail and shows, rather than tells, can be an image. An image can be a word, a phrase, or an entire poem. Imagery deals in the concrete, rather than the abstract.

Imagery in all its forms is one of the main vehicles of both emotion and idea in poetry. You have all heard the advice “show, don’t tell” at this point (I hope). That’s imagery. Learning to use it well will take you beyond the simple adage of “show, don’t tell”, but we’ll get more into that later. In poetry, as in most forms of writing, readers don’t respond to opinions without facts, or emotions named with a word. Poetry is not the paraphrase, the “meaning” that you summarize in a sentence for an homework assignment. Poetry is an experience of something – a moment in time, a thought on a subject, the life of an object, a song, a howl, a history. Imagery usually creates experience, and it allows the reader to become a part of that experience. When a poem opens the door with imagery, it gives you something to respond to with your own experience; when a poem tells you what its about without using imagery or figurative language, it shuts you out.

One way that poems can shut a reader out is with abstractions that are not integrated into the poem. Abstractions are nouns that name a general idea, concept or emotion. Love, soul, hate, beauty, happiness, sadness, joy, fury, truth, nature, pain are all abstractions. They are essential words for communicating when we talk to each other, but they tend to make poetry general, vague, and difficult to relate to. Abstractions take a whole host of experiences that are related in feeling but wildly different in every other way and bundle them into a single word or phrase. This makes them strikingly poor communicators when we don’t know the speaker – and so often poor communicators in poetry.

Everyone has a different idea of what these abstract concepts describe in the real world. This is why the concrete often communicates far better than the abstract in poetry – your idea of what love, joy, hate, etc. are way different from my idea, or the idea of a Greek man 2,800 years ago. Say you want to write a poem about being happy. When I think of happiness I’m in my studio, blasting music your parents probably like and becoming one with the rich smell of oil paints. You might imagine that blue day in Santa Cruz, or the first snowfall of the year, or a night in the kitchen talking with friends. I don’t know how you, the reader, will respond to me stating “I was happy” in a poem. Stating the name of the feeling won’t describe how or why that feeling came about, or why it should matter. The reader isn’t going to care about my happiness – she can’t experience it. You can’t make readers feel something by naming the feeling, but you can make them feel by creating the opportunity for them to experience the thing for themselves.

Here’s what Robert Wallace, author of “Writing Poetry”, has to say about it:
Emotions, in themselves, are not subject matter. Being in love, or sad, or lonely, or feeling good because it is spring, are common experiences. Poets that merely say these things, state these emotions directly, are unlikely to be very interesting. We may respect such statements, but we can’t be moved by them.

The circumstances of the emotion, the scene or events out of which it comes, however, are the subject matter. Don’t tell the emotion. Tell the causes of it, the circumstances. Presented vividly, they will not only convince us of its truth but will also make us dramatically feel it.
Abstractions have a place in poetry. Poetry can tackle big ideas, general concepts, and the complex realms of human emotion. But both big ideas and the abstractions that name them are better accompanied in poetry by imagery or figurative language of some kind. Some poets that created abstract ideas did so through concrete language, combining particulars so that they merge into the general. Others use particulars to convey things that are usually prosaic and abstract, such as philosophical or scientific concepts. The discussion of imagery vs. abstraction is one with lots of historical and philosophical background that I’m not up on. Poets from different eras struck varying balances between the two in their work – something that you’ll observe as you read poetry from the last five centuries. Reading poetry will help you figure out your own balance between imagery and abstraction, as will thinking about the different types of imagery that you can use in your poetry.

Types of imagery

Keep in mind that there are many types of imagery and that my scheme below might not be yours. Because there are endless ways of making imagery in poetry, there are probably endless ways of classifying images. But I think these classifications make it easier to think about what imagery is and what forms it can take. It also makes it easier to break down those forms and teach them.

1. Sensual imagery: any evocation of the senses–tactile, auditory, visual, aural, and olfactory - in order to be descriptive.

2. Intuitive imagery: images that seem scattered and incongruous, non-linear, and perhaps surreal that travel somewhere between concrete detail and abstractions or fantastical combinations of things, places, concepts, things. Intuitive imagery is usually an application of sensual imagery in a non-straightforward or non literal way.

3. Kinetic imagery: any word or group of words evoking action. Particularly evocative verbs can be a form of kinetic imagery.

4. Conceptual imagery: forms of synecdoche, metonymy, figurative speech, or sensual imagery used to evoke ideas to which one of the five senses or kinesis still clings in ghostly form.


1. Sensual imagery

When most people talk about imagery they mean sensual imagery, so we’re going to discuss it first. Sensual imagery is language whose main function is to appeal to the senses, thus the name. Sensual imagery often appears as a passage of description, or a moment of a story told in detail. Sensual imagery is always concrete – based in real things. Sensual imagery doesn’t always depict the actual experience of the poet, but it is often based on experience in some way.

Poets use sensual imagery for a number of purposes. In some poems, the images stand on their own without comment. The images evoke a feeling, or maybe they just are. Existing, the way things in the world just exist. The poet doesn’t comment on what the images are doing, but lets them “speak for themselves”.

In a Station of the Metro – Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough.
the pool girl – Morgan Downie

she has seen the pool empty
an unspace of blue tile
an echo in cold ceramic
cloudless, a void

she has seen the pool fill
stood above it, immiscible
a colloid, and watched the
sky skid across the surface

she wears a red bathing suit
the white skin of her body
buoyed in the interval
between solid and liquid

all sound is her breath, her
fingers unfurl, become birds
In both of these poems, the poet doesn’t discuss the meaning of the images or name an emotion attached to them; nor do the images tell a conventional story with a conflict and narrative arc. All of that has to be drawn from the images by the reader.

In some poems, the images evoke a moment of experience in order to convey emotion. The poet sometimes names the emotion – at least, they are deliberately drawing attention to the feeling or the atmosphere that they are attempting to create, leading the reader beyond the images presented.
A Blessing – James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.
The story told by this poem is short. It’s hardly a story – the poet and his friend stop at twilight and meet ponies at the edge of a field. There’s no conflict, nothing to resolve. Instead, the brief narrative is taken over by imagery in order to evoke emotion: happiness. The imagery in the poem gets less literal as it continues, and this contributes to the way the imagery evokes emotion. First, we experience the evening with the poet: the grass, the willows, the shape of the ponies, the fence. But the main thrust of the poem is the transformation that happens inside the poet during that experience; at that point, the imagery becomes more metaphorical. It goes from describing an evening to describing an emotion, from depicting living things to evoking the feeling of being alive in the lines
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.
In other poems, sensual images tell a story and describe the speaker’s experience of the world. The images serve the narrative and allow the reader to experience parts of it for themselves. Many contemporary poems use this kind of imagery to both tell the story and to evoke the emotions that accompany the story. The two are twined together, in poetry: the situation creates the emotion. Take a look at the following narrative poem:
At Roane Head - Robin Robertson

You’d know her house by the drawn blinds –
by the cormorants pitched on the boundary wall,
the black crosses of their wings hung out to dry.
You’d tell it by the quicken and the pine that hid it
from the sea and from the brief light of the sun,
and by Aonghas the collie, lying at the door
where he died: a rack of bones like a sprung trap.
A fork of barnacle geese came over, with that slow
squeak of rusty saws. The bitter sea’s complaining pull
and roll; a whicker of pigeons, lifting in the wood.
She’d had four sons, I knew that well enough,
and each one wrong. All born blind, they say,
slack-jawed and simple, web-footed,
rickety as sticks. Beautiful faces, I’m told,
though blank as air.
Someone saw them once, outside, hirpling
down to the shore, chittering like rats,
and said they were fine swimmers,
but I would have guessed at that.
Her husband left her: said
they couldn’t be his, they were more
fish than human;
he said they were beglamoured,
and searched their skin for the showing marks.
For years she tended each difficult flame:
their tight, flickering bodies.
Each night she closed
the scales of their eyes to smoor the fire.
Until he came again,
that last time,
thick with drink, saying
he’d had enough of this,
all this witchery,
and made them stand
in a row by their beds,
twitching. Their hands
flapped; herring-eyes
rolled in their heads.
He went along the line
relaxing them
one after another
with a small knife.
They say she goes out every night to lay
blankets on the graves to keep them warm.
It would put the heart across you, all that grief.
There was an otter worrying in the leaves, a heron
loping slow over the water when I came
at scraich of day, back to her door.
She’d hung four stones in a necklace, wore
four rings on the hand that led me past the room
with four small candles burning
which she called ‘the room of rain’.
Milky smoke poured up from the grate
like a waterfall in reverse
and she said my name,
and it was the only thing
and the last thing that she said.
She gave me a skylark’s egg in a bed of frost;
gave me twists of my four sons’ hair; gave me
her husband’s head in a wooden box.
Then she gave me the sealskin, and I put it on.
The imagery at the beginning of this poem is essential for setting a scene and a mood – it creates a place for the story to happen in, but its more than just illustration. Consider how different the poem would be if you cut out the first ten lines and started with “She’d had four sons, I knew that well enough,” – you’d be unmoored, dropped in the middle of a story, and you’d have a harder time understanding the characters. The setting described in the first ten lines sets up the situation. Like a good story, the emotions of the characters come through with a combination of description and action. At the end of the poem, the only word that names an emotion is “grief”. The rest is developed through actions and observation.

----

If you’re looking to incorporate sensual imagery, pay attention to the world around you. You don’t always have to write about your own experience or self in poetry – poetry can be dramatic, speculative, apart from the self. But the details of your experience and the observations of the world that you make in daily life provide a lot of fuel for poetry, whether you use it to describe your own life or to show us how a character is feeling. Observe people, how they look and talk. Pay attention to the natural world – the feel of the wind on your skin, the changing faces of the sky, the endlessly varied shapes of plants. Look at cars, look at art, listen to music. All of these things will provide you with sensual imagery.

Sensual imagery can also cross between the senses. Even for the great majority of us who are not synesthetes, one sense connects to others. This works in part through memory. When we hear a song or smell someone’s cologne, we are transported to another place and time – full of sights, sensations, noise. We feel some sounds with the whole body (the bellow of a train, bass of a good stereo). Some sights immediately awaken our other senses – the sight of your favorite food can spark an echo of its taste in your mouth, while looking at someone sexy can make us all but feel the smooth curve of their skin.

Sensual imagery is often beautiful, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some horrifying, disgusting, or just plain ordinary things worth writing poetry about, and sensual imagery can help you convey these just as well is it can beauty and joy.


2. Intuitive imagery

Intuitive imagery takes advantage of and often mimics the way our brains can hold many things together at once, or bounce around between different memories and ideas.
Scarecrow on fire – Dean Young

We all think about suddenly disappearing.
The train tracks lead there, into the woods.
Even in the financial district: wooden doors
in alleyways. First I want to put something small
into your hand, a button or river stone or
key I don’t know to what. I don’t
have that house anymore across from the graveyard
and its black angel. What counts as a proper
goodbye? My last winter in Iowa there was always
a ladybug or two in the kitchen for cheer
even when it was ten below. We all feel
suspended over a drop into nothingness.
Once you get close enough, you see what
one is stitching is a human heart. Another
is vomiting wings. Hell, even now I love life.
Whenever you put your feet on the floor
in the morning, whatever the nightmare,
it’s a miracle or fantastic illusion:
the solidity of the boards, the steadiness
coming into the legs. Where did we get
the idea when we were kids to rub dirt
into the wound or was that just in Pennsylvania?
Maybe poems are made of breath, the way water,
cajoled to boil, says, This is my soul, freed.
(poem suggested by Peppermental. Thank you!)

Take a minute and think about what happens in you when you read this poem. Don’t look down at my half-baked explanation just yet. Let it sink in, read it again. Take a breath.

Okay, now you can continue.

This poem doesn’t have a straightforward narrative. The way I like to think about it, the first line is the “real” title: it tells me what the poem is about and lets me enter the stream of ideas, images, glimpses of story. The different ideas presented by the poem all feel like they’re spoken by one person experiencing a very particular emotional state, and that’s what ties them together; the images describe the state, because it cannot be properly named. These are the thoughts that come with the desire to disappear into the woods or into a back alley door and enter someone else’s life: what comes before the disappearance, the fear and excitement of what comes after, and perhaps a little bit of sadness for what that desire makes us leave behind. That’s what I get out of this string of images, and it feels strange to paraphrase it this way: mostly I feel like I got a few beautiful minutes inside the poets head. You could construct some kind of narrative or meaning that puts all these together, but you don’t have to. The fact that the connections are not explicit and are left up to you the reader, helps the images to stand on their own.
Love In The Orangery - Aimee Nezhukumatahil

When you see a seventy-pound octopus squeeze
through a hole the size of a half-dollar coin, you

finally understand that everything you learn about
the sea will only make people you love say You lie.

There are land truths that scare me: a purple orchid
that only blooms underground. A German poet

buried in the heart of an oak tree. The lighthouse man
who used to walk around the streets at night

with a lighted candle stuck into his skull. But winters
in Florida—all the street corners have sad fruit

tucked into the curb, fallen from orangery truckers
who take corners too fast. The air is sick with citrus

and yet you love the small spots of orange in walls
of leafy green as we drive. Your love is a concrete canoe

that floats in the lake like a lead balloon, improbable
as a steel wool cloud, a metal feather. This is the truth:

I once believed nothing on earth could make me say magic.
You believe in the orange blossom tucked behind my ear.
This poem has a more straightforward narrative, and both conceptual and linguistic connections that can be followed: sea truths and land truths, truth and lies, magic. The images that illustrate these things are very different and are tied together by the bent and illogical scaffolding of the speaker’s thoughts on belief and disbelief. I can’t image the play back and forth between the two as a philosophical discourse, but the speaker makes it real to me, makes it feel strange and paradoxical with a non-linear combination of images and experiences that show what its like to experience something and not know how to believe it.

The strange but believable nature of the images becomes the connection, as do their colors: the orange of the octopus against the imposing blue of the ocean, the purple of the orchid against the citrus and green of wet oranges in Florida. This poem is also a good case study in the effective use of colors: the colors are specific and pointed enough that they help us imagine more clearly, but are not slathered on so thickly that the color names lose meaning. And many of the colors, just like the ideas and connections, are imagined – the poem suggests them, but doesn’t name them.
Mirrors - Tada Chimako

The mirror is always slightly taller than I
It laughs a moment after I laugh
Turning red as a boiled crab
I cut myself from the mirror with shears

*

When my lips draw close, the mirror clouds over
And I vanish behind my own sighs
Like an aristocrat hiding behind his crest
Or a gangster behind his tattoos

*

Oh traveler, go to Lacedaemon and say that in the mirror,
Graveyard of smiles, there is a single gravestone
Painted white, thick with makeup
Where the wind blows alone
The space for suggestion is also an important feature of the three poems above. The poems state some things, but leave the ends open. There is no one way to interpret or imagine what’s happening in these poems, even though they were probably written with very specific images and ideas in mind.

I think the success of intuitive imagery depends upon the unspoken, ghostly connection between the different elements of the poem. A poem of random images or things thrown together because each was interesting or beautiful individually won’t work. People like to solve puzzles, find connections, and understand what they read (thus why its so exciting to realize the heavily made up actor in a bad movie is also on your favorite show). There’s a connection that underlies everything in “Scarecrow on Fire” and “Love in Orangery”, though it is difficult to verbalize what that connection is. “Mirrors” depicts the same subject in wildly different ways. We don’t need connections to be linear, simple, or even explainable to sense that they exist – but they do need to exist for the poem to make sense and for it to communicate something to a reader.

I also think that the realness of intuitive imagery is important. Though the combinations of images are strange and a few of the images are surreal, all are grounded in reality. Each individual image starts as sensual imagery drawn from the world that we share. Just as surrealist paintings often used techniques usually used to depict the world in realistic detail, these poems use realistic details like train tracks disappearing into the woods, an orange blossom behind a lover’s ear, a crab, in order to convey the non-real realms of our thoughts. When you try to convey something non-linear, surreal, or intuitive try to give readers something that they can use as leverage in the poem, something familiar that will help them navigate the unfamiliar.

When you start using intuitive imagery, think about the way dreams hold together. There’s often some shadow narrative or logic that makes everything in the dream make sense and feel real, even if the individual events don’t make conventional sense – your house isn’t your house, your boyfriend suddenly is a teacher you’ve always admired, you’re driving a bus through a tunnel in a glacier. Also think about the way your mind wanders when you’re bored, or riding in a car/driving. A song comes on the radio – you remember hearing it when you were ten, and where you heard it. You were with a friend. Now you think about her – she dyed her hair, she has kids, she plays the saxophone, you can’t imagine her face. Do faces change that much, does she look the same as when she had a wispy side ponytail in a pink scrunchie? You check out your face in the rear view mirror. There’s a cop following you, lights off. You wonder: your face has changed, or has it? Would she recognize your mug shot?

3. Kinetic imagery

Sound effects can create a sense of motion, but this isn’t precisely what I mean by kinetic imagery. Kinetic imagery is another application of sensual imagery that’s worth talking about because it rarely gets named or discussed, but can be incredibly important to a poem. Kinetic imagery is the creation of motion through an energetic and precise use of verbs, and the use of particular verbs to further an image. To investigate kinetic imagery, we’ll look more closely at two poems we’ve already read.

In “At Roane’s Head”, the poet uses verbs that mimic sounds, and though these verbs aren’t familiar to me they feel very real, sensory, strong, and specific. Here’s one place where that happens:
Someone saw them once, outside, hirpling
down to the shore, chittering like rats,
Combined with the previous descriptions of the children, I imagine a sort of whooping, circular, loping motion – like the way skunks and otters run, strange sad and hilarious. The motion helps characterize them, and the invented verb helps set them apart from the rest of humanity.

In “the pool girl”, the poet uses a combination of an unexpected verb and alliteration:
sky skid across the surface
The s sounds mimic skidding, and the verb skid itself creates an image of a surface and small hops across that surface, each word a hop. The verb skid also enforces the idea of a surface or a barrier in the way “hop” wouldn’t. Part of the power of skid in this line is the fact that the sky doesn’t usually skid – the sky is usually passive, existing above our heads rather than acting. Getting the sky to do something makes it a more active and physical part of the poem.

In general, kinetic imagery happens for a moment in a poem, and is one of the many small tool that poets use to create images and convey ideas. The world is in motion, so the poem captures some of that motion. Other poems make the impression of motion a central purpose, such as in the following excerpt:
first stanza of The Waste Land section I. Burial of the Dead by T.S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar kine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
While using a string of gerunds (“-ing” verbs) is not a foolproof way to create motion and is actually very difficult to pull off, it works very well in this poem; the combo of repetition and variation creates a sense of new seething life below the surface of the poem/the ground. The verbs combine to create the motion: breeding, mixing, stirring, covering, feeding: all verbs of life. In this case, though the verbs are specific to the feeling of spring, it isn’t one verb that creates the motion but all of them.

Think of kinetic imagery every time you structure a sentence. Try to use active sentence structures if they fit into the poem, and consider the specificity of your verbs (and the power of a specific verb).

4. Conceptual imagery

Often conceptual imagery manifests itself in metaphor, the extension of metaphor, or a moment of sensory perception in a phrase or sentence presenting an idea rather than a thing.
Sonnet 116 – William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Some of the metaphors in this sonnet evolve into conceptual imagery when they become physical or extended. For example: the many metaphors used to describe what love is: an ever-fixed mark, something that isn’t moved by tempests. Love is made into both a place and a person, a personified place. We can imagine a monolith not moving as waves in a winter storm pound against it, but that image is brief and in the service of a discussion of love’s constancy rather than a poem about a storm. Or about a star.

Many of Shakespeare’s less extended usages can also be thought of as conceptual imagery, though some may or may not give you a glimpse of a picture or an experience. Let’s start with the first line. “True minds” stand in for the whole of the people who possess them (the fancy AP literature term is synecdoche). Even his word choice carries the shadow of imagery – he uses active verbs like “alters” and “bears” to describe the action of an emotion. In this sonnet, even the descriptions of what love is are active and physical and employ verbs like “shaken” that give us a picture.

Modern writers also employ conceptual imagery:
The Snow Man – Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
This poem employs sensual imagery at the beginning and conceptual imagery at the end. You could also consider it a poem with concrete details serving an abstract meaning. The “mind of winter” is a conceptual thing, though the winter landscape is concrete. But the landscape sets up a blank and cold space, a nothingness: and that nothingness is conceptual. The last two lines of the poem fall under my definition of conceptual imagery. Nothing is both an abstract concept and a standard abstraction. But because of the way the different types/denotations of nothing are combined with each other and with the blank landscape they become more real, more like images. The man is nothing, seeing what exists, and that which exists is nothing: witness the white landscape buried under snow and made blinding by the sun. The images at the beginning of the poem cling to the word “nothing” at the end of the poem and transform it into something. Sort of.

I’m not completely sure how to handle conceptual imagery well, because I usually stick to the first three types of imagery in my own work. However, from reading lots of poetry both published and not I can tell you one way you should not approach conceptual imagery. It is not enough to attach a concept or abstraction to a concrete noun. It is tempting, it sounds poetic, and it rarely communicates as well as you would think. For example: “seas of sorrow” or “mountains of adversity” or even “secrets of love”. All of these seem to be images … but all are in fact difficult or impossible to experience in our minds. This is the [noun] of [abstraction] construction, an insidious beast. Either it is used to try to describe an abstraction in a single word, or to qualify some concrete thing with an abstraction. In both cases, the potential specificity of the noun is lost.

Instead, if you want to incorporate an abstraction into an image, consider using some kind of extended metaphor. Take a look at the way Shakespeare does it in Sonnet 116: He tells us he’s talking about love in the second line, but develops the comparisons of what love is/is not in a number of different directions. He doesn’t say “the stars of love”, but instead:
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
This metaphor transforms as it goes and takes up a number of lines, and encompasses a number of different images in the poem. The incorporation of the abstract idea isn’t an afterthought, and neither is the image attached to it.


Imagery in context

Now that you have an idea of the many ways that imagery can be used in poetry, the next question is: how to use it well? What general principles can be used to figure out if an image will work in a poem and help the poem communicate?

It is important to use imagery to serve a coherent whole, and to try to keep the whole poem in mind when creating your images or when choosing details from life to put onto the page. This can be done in revision as well as in the first draft – if you write to discover what you’re writing about, all is not lost! You just might have some wild beasts on the page to corral in the journey between the rough poem and the finished poem. This can be difficult when you first start incorporating imagery into your poetry or when you’re caught up in the heat of the work. I know that when I write I want to get ideas and impressions down fast. Sometimes this reveals the unexpected – sometimes the results are all over the place. Sometimes in the rush, the main idea gets lost. It can be easy to become enchanted by your creations and forget that they should be part of some larger narrative, idea or purpose rather than a blooming moment of beauty (or wretchedness, if you’re a gritty writer). But in revision, think about what you want to communicate. What feeling do you want to evoke with the poem? What story do you want to tell? Does each image push a reader – perhaps a friend, a critique, or you two weeks later – toward that purpose, or does each image pull in a different direction?

There are a number of ways to create a coherent poem through imagery. One way that poems hang together is through atmosphere. In narrative poems this is often a strong sense of time and place, or of theme – look at the first few lines of “At Roane’s Head”. All the images are of a particular place and are created with words that have related connotations and associations – death, the sea, magic. These turn out to be important threads throughout the poem. Sometimes the buildup of an atmosphere is due to both similarities and differences, or from the leaps between images – such as in “Love in the Orangery”. In that poem, the atmosphere is created by the same almost unbelievable and beautiful nature of the images, even though they are not connected in a narrative or straightforward way.

One way to create images that relate to each other and that help the whole poem hang together is to riff off of one image or theme. If you find that a few of your images, comparisons, moments are related, keep going in that direction. If you’re writing a love poem and a few words start to remind you of the sea, keep pushing in that direction. See what the sea has to offer your imagery. Let one image lead you to the next. Sometimes this results in a jumble that needs to be edited, but sometimes this will get some underlying set of associations or ideas to come through.

Another way is to build a poem as a series of images in the service of a larger metaphor. This is what happens in Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare, which uses a number of somewhat related conceptual images to develop an idea about the constancy of love. Not all poems need to feel the same all the way through, or be “about” the same things, in order to make sense and be a cohesive poem – take a look back at “Mirrors”. This poem is also built as a number of different images in the service of one metaphor and one theme, the strange disconnectedness of mirrors. But it’s the distance between each image and the fact that each section deals with a different strange mirror aspect that helps build that idea. The poem goes in many different directions – red as a crab, a pair of shears, a cloud, a gangster hiding behind tattoos, ancient Greece, a gravestone, the wind. It’s the contrasts between all of these that help convey the strangeness of mirrors.

The kind of contrast used in “Mirrors” can also be used to create transitions. Sometimes a poem needs to travel from one idea to the next or from one state to another: say from innocence to experience. Deliberately choosing contrasting sets of images can help highlight that change in a speaker or a character and make the reader know that something new and different is happening in the poem.


Reading and writing exercises to improve your imagery

These exercises are so you can learn by doing, which is where most of the real learning happens. Some are so standard as to be attributable to no one, some are mine, others are pulled from a variety of sources.

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Consider the forms of imagery in the following poems: Hardy’s “To A Darkling Thrush,” Frost’s “After Apple Picking,” Stephen Dunn’s “Happiness,” Paul Eluard’s “Blazon,” Moore’s “The Fish,” Lucille Clifton’s “Hips.” Note what sort of imagery each poet favors. How does their choice of images effect style and tone? Pick a style and a type of imagery that goes with it – preferably one that’s different from what you usually write, and imitate it.
from Primer on Imagery (which you can read here) by Joe Weil

Take a color. Almost every color will bring a rush of associations. Colors are loaded with memory, smell, feeling, touch and taste. Notice all the places you see red. A jeep. A red leash, silk dress. Let the colors take you. Write the color’s poem. Include foods. Choose one: chartreuse, fuchsia, orange, purple, magenta, azure, slate, goldenrod, alizarin crimson, venetian red, cobalt, spring green. What are all the things that color makes you see? Let a thing of the color suggest other things of the color. Write short pieces, one after the other, letting each color move, trigger memories and suggest images.
from Poemcrazy by Susan G. Woolridge

Pick one very interesting object – a sculpture, a strange thingamadude, an heirloom, a talisman - and describe it in detail. Let the details take you unexpected places, but try always to come back to the object. Then do the same for a very mundane object. How are the poems about the two different?

Think of a memory (of a person, place, event, moment, thought) that is accompanied by a feeling you can’t name. Not happiness, nostalgia, sadness, or anger. Not anything with a word commonly associated with it – so you need to use imagery and experience to convey that feeling. Think first of the surroundings, because the atmosphere of a memory is often as important as the events of it. Describe the surroundings so they become a part of the event, and use active images and precise verbs to make the atmosphere act out the emotion you’re trying to convey.

Look through poems, a dictionary, a novel (any interesting source of words) for verbs that strike you – strange, specific, or particularly lively verbs. Make a list of at least 5, then work them into a poem. Build a few images from the similarities or contrasts between the verbs.




And this was the original version from 2007:
Spoiler:
In a lot of my critiques, here and elsewhere, I find myself going over the basics of imagery, trying to explain it and type it quickly so that the critique-ee can understand and put the ideas to use. Hopefully, this will become a more complete and useful guide for those looking to learn about imagery; but I want it to be good for poets who have a command of the basics and want to tighten the nuts and bolts.





Imagery: Concrete and Purposeful

Imagery, at its best, isn’t just the background of a poem or a pretty veneer that draws attention from the ‘point’ the poet is trying to made – it can become the fabric of the poem, conveying the essential emotions and ideas. Imagery has the power to evoke and to illustrate, bringing out the response of the readers rather than pounding the expected response into their skulls.

Imagery is language that addresses the senses. It is a very flexible device and doesn’t have a structural formula, like the simile does; rather, anything that conveys sensory detail and shows, rather than tells, can be an image. Imagery deals in the concrete, rather than the abstract.

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Poetry doesn’t have to attack grand truths of the universe or be general and vague; these are often the mistakes of beginners, who really want to be Poetic with a capital P. This often leads down the road to abstraction. Abstraction is anything vague and hard to quantify – love, soul, hate, beauty, happiness, sadness, truth, nature, pain. These things are all very different for different people and so lose all meaning in a poem. You might want to say “I was happy,” but your vision of happy and my vision of happy are probably totally different things. When I think of happiness I imagine a rainy day, myself curled up on the couch with my best friend under blankets, reading or talking, and with a cup of tea.

You might imagine that one day in Santa Cruz, or the first snowfall of the year, or a bottle of wine and your lover. I don’t know – and since the response to something so vague is going to be completely varied, it will hold no meaning within the poem. It won’t show how or why “I was happy” or why that should matter. The reader isn’t going to care about my happiness – she can’t experience it.

Robert Wallace, author of “Writing Poetry”, on imagery, emotion, and subject matter:
Emotions, in themselves, are not subject matter. Being in love, or sad, or lonely, or feeling good because it is spring, are common experiences. Poes that merely say these things, state these emotions directly, are unlikely to be very interesting. We may respect such statements, but we can’t be moved by them.

The circumstances of the emotion, the scene or events out of which it comes, however, are the subject matter. Don’t tell the emotion. Tell the causes of it, the circumstances. Presented vividly, they will not only convince us of its truth but will also make us dramatically feel it.
Evoking this feeling in the reader is of utmost importance. If emotion is important to the meaning of the poem – and it always is – then there is no point in trying to beat it into a reader. He goes on to restate one of the most oft-quoted ‘rules’ of writing; show, don’t tell.
The key is presenting; not to tell about, but to show. Put the spring day or the girl or the father into the poem. Put the mountain into the poem so that, in the absence of the mountain, the poem can take the place of the mountain.
Addonizio and Laux, in The Poet's Companion, say, "Images are the rendering of your bodily experiences in the world; without them, your poems are going to risk being vague and imprecise, and they will fail to convey much to the reader." Also, remember that "images may be literal: the red kitchen chair in a dim corner of the room; the gritty wet sand under her bare feet. Or they may be figurative, departing from the actual and stating or implying a comparison: the chair, red and shiny as fingernail polish; the armies of sand grains advancing across the wood floor of the beach house." And also keep in mind that images can appeal to all the senses, not just sight--don't forget about smell, taste, hearing, and touch. These can be just as powerful--or perhaps more powerful--than visual references. Smell can be especially potent –- memories and smells are often closely linked in our minds.

While details will bring poetry to life, they can’t just be there for ornamentation; they have to link to something, help create meaning, or help convey an emotion for a purpose. What these details add up to can be explained in the poem, as in “The Black Snake” by Mary Oliver or they can just imply the idea, and let the reader draw the conclusion, like with William Carlos Williams’ “Poem”.


Creating effective images

Strong imagery will give the sense of “I’ve never thought about it that way, but she’s right.” (This is generally the aim as poetry as a whole, but that’s a much stickier discussion for another day). It’s not enough to get some sort of visual onto the page, though that’s a step in the right direction; you want the images you use to be as descriptive as possible, to “pull their weight”. They should help push the reader’s thoughts toward the meaning/theme as much as describe or show.

As you keep your own experiences and meaning in mind and write imagery to fit that, your poetry should gain the added bonus of becoming fresher, more original. How many poems have you read where “tears streamed”? (Please, if you’ve counted, don’t tell me.) If you consider the significance of the tears, you can describe them in a way that’s original and personal, and that suggests more about what’s to come in the poem ( I read something wonderful recently with crocodiles moving hungrily down a face: a nice play on “crocodile tears”, but also violent and bizarre, which lent to the atmosphere of the poem in question)

So don’t write
The rivers of crimson
run down my arm,
like the millions of teenagers before you have. Think, instead, of how the concept actually affects you and fits into the theme of the rest of your poem.
These ribbons of vitality
untie themselves and
float to the floor, discarded.
The images of Federico Garcia Lorca are both simple and surreal - the picture the words create seems clear, but it is strange, and meaning comes from the unexpected. (Personally, I like his imagery because it’s beautiful and because it is never something I would think of.)
The dead put on wings of moss.
The cloudy wind and the clear wind
are two pheasants that fly through towers
and the day is a wounded young boy.
But do not light your pure nakedness
like a black cactus open in the rushes.
A successful image can be created with strong verbs and nouns. It doesn’t have to be flowery, and in most cases it shouldn’t be. An overload of adjectives equals poetic drowning rather than detailed imagery. For a good exercise in getting rid of excess adjectives, take a look at this article, by Fand. That method is just as useful in poetry as it is in prose. Extra adjectives can get in the way of the central ideas of a line or a sentence, creating a slush that the reader gets lost in. A few well-placed adjectives and, maybe (Maybe, if you use them really well) adverbs can complement strong verbs and nouns instead of drowning them out.

Take a look at this poem:
Enough
by Denis Johnson

The terminal flopped out
around us like a dirty hankie,
surrounded by the future population
of death row in their disguises--high
school truant, bewildered Korean refugee--
we complained that bus 18 will never arrive,
when it arrives complain what an injury
is this bus again today, venerable
and destined to stall. When it stalls

at 16th and McDowell most of us get out
to eat ourselves alive in a 24-hour diner
that promises not to carry us beyond
this angry dream of grease and the cries
of spoons, that swears our homes
are invisible and we never lived in them,
that a bus hasn't passed here in years.
Sometime the closest I get to loving

the others is hating all of us
for drinking coffee in this stationary sadness
where nobody's dull venereal joking breaks
into words that say it for the last time,
as if we held in the heavens of our arms
not cherishable things, but only the strength
it takes to leave home and then go back again.
the word choice is very particular, and even single words suggest strong images: the terminal “flopped”, limp and apathetic and dull; “what an injury” is the bus, a personal insult, a wound on the face of the day. The terminal is not dull, the bus is not frustrating. With careful word choice, a poem can suggest much more than the basic ideas that it’s trying to convey. Dull is dull. Flopped has much more to say.


Some questions to ask of images, once they are composed:
-- How does this contribute to the overall feeling and meaning of the poem?
-- Are there any contradictions? Do the images switch gears too fast, or – if the tack or tone changes – does it do so gradually, in a way that makes sense?
-- are any images abstractions in disguise? (This can be difficult to spot, because these phrases tend to sound really cool and you won’t want to cut them. “Shards of opaque clarity” is an example: I don’t know what opaque clarity looks like, or how it can be in shards, so this image is doing nothing but sounding poetic.)
-- Can I condense the wording, so every word makes a maximum impact and I’m not taking up extra space?


EDIT: AN ADDENDUM/CAVEAT, added later, from another forum:
Originally Posted by Grimaldi, from Gaia's OP/L
Thoughts On Imagery


I'm sure many of us are aware that we can go overboard on the use of "poetic" images. The fear of producing something unoriginal or trite is constantly nipping at our heels when we sit down to write, and for good reason: we want people to enjoy and want to read our stuff; otherwise, what's the point? So, to quiet that fear, we take the most interesting ideas, pictures, sounds, tastes, and smells, and plop them down. The task of writing then becomes simply an attempt to weave together what our brain has farted out in its moment of brilliance. We dig for some sort of coherence, biting pieces off the corners to make them fit, instead of stopping for a moment to really think about what's in front of us.

The images many of us use are nice and original: a sheet of sky tearing into snow-confetti -- a man made of bricks licking passing cars -- babies planted in the ground and growing into shark-mailboxes --whatever. But these images, while cool, are often baseless: not grounded in anything real. I think that a push for IMAGES: things, no matter what they are, as long as we can sense them, is what we should be after, but the concept has to be unpacked a little more, taken a little further.

I believe that a poet, first and foremost, is someone who has begun and sustained the practice of exploring the vast terrain of the imagination. We look inward just as much as we draw from the world around us for inspiration. We process this information through the context of our own personal experience: in terms of the real things that have shaped us, made us who we are. If our world is a reality, and our experiences formed out of that reality, then it makes sense that we should write about real things. But who wants real? Real life is tedium. Many people write to escape their real lives. The need to escape the oppression of reality is what gave steam to movements like dada and surrealism; but dada was extremely short-lived, and surrealism appealed only to a select few. If escapist, surreal imagery does not satisfy the average Joe, what will?

Grounded simplicity and clarity.

Yes, we've heard it before, but I think we may have been afraid to really listen. Sure, realism can get banal, if someone chooses to cling firmly to verisimilitude and forget that they're still writing a poem, which still has the potential to be something beautiful (if the author chooses). The blending of realism and art is probably our ultimate goal as poets. We need to take the actual world around us and turn it into something else. Something bigger than just the sum of its parts.

One of the biggest problems a growing writer can face is subtext -- what they want the poem to say without actually saying it. It's a thin line to walk. Every time we pick up the pen, we're trying to find that happy medium, a working balance between text and subtext. When we create images, we should be trying to imagine all the ways it could possibly function. This is a grueling task to be sure; our own subjective responses are almost always attached to them automatically (We are later surprised to find that not everyone feels the same way or gets the same thing from baby shark mailboxes, even though we thought the implications couldn't be clearer). It's disheartening, but we have to be willing to accept that our first instincts and inclinations may almost always lead us astray.

Now, I'm not saying that there's any way to escape subjectivity in your writing. It will be with you always, and that's not a bad thing by any means --it's really what makes your writing "your writing." But, as I said, we need to be as considerate as possible to the reading of others. Because this must be so, we need to think about what kind of images we're putting out there for our readers to pick up. I believe that there are two main things to consider when writing a poem.

First, as I hinted at before, we need to make sure that our images are as real as possible. This way, we can have some degree of confidence that our message will get across to a larger audience. I'm not talking about just abstraction or vaguenesses, but in the actual images we choose to present, and how to present them. For example, writing a poem that compares the idea of love to a galaxy exploding and devouring a million vividly described worlds of freedom is an interesting idea, but what is there to anchor it to reality? What do a million screaming, burning alien children, flesh dripping from their faces like honey from a comb, really give us about the abstract of "love?" You can taste, touch, feel, and smell all you like, but in the end you're left with unrelatable melodrama and...well...dead babies. Now, comparing love to the shore curled about the sea with endless repetitive motion: there's something real, something solid.

While solid, real imagery is completely necessary, I think that we are too focused on our senses for our own good. A good poet does not need to remind you that your senses are engaged. There's a type of "in your face" mentality among us that can really be detrimental to our work. I am loathe to bring up our hated axiom "show, don't tell," but I think it can come back to bite our butts if we're not careful and don't show a little restraint. Someone who writes "The paper-textured flowers wafted the scent of jasmine/ my nose crinkled and a tingle touched the back of my throat" is doing what he or she has sworn not to do: they are telling you what you are feeling. Instead of going subtly (a subjective idea, I know, and a whole different discussion) into the subject, they are pounding their reader with their sense perceptions.

I don't know about you, but I like to experience things for myself.

How we've decided to handle our subject matter will ultimately decide what kind of imagery we will use, and to what extent. Dialogue can contain its own brand of imagery (and no, not the kind that describes a picture). Suggestions, images placed at a poetic distance, in the background, so to speak, will have much more power because of their subtlety. I think, when all is said and done, we just need to realize that imagery is what makes poetry, but it is not what makes the poem. Thoughts, ideas, wording, coding, pictures, smells, suggestions -- all these things work together. You don't have to use all of them all of the time (restraint is awesome guys, seriously.), but conscious choices as to their uses must be made.
You can see the original, and the original author, here.
  
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:32 AM View Post #2 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Isis View Post
Poetry doesn’t have to attack grand truths of the universe or be general and vague; these are often the mistakes of beginners, who really want to be Poetic with a capital P. This often leads down the road to abstraction. Abstraction is anything vague and hard to quantify – love, soul, hate, beauty, happiness, sadness, truth, nature, pain. These things are all very different for different people and so lose all meaning in a poem. You might want to say “I was happy,” but your vision of happy and my vision of happy are probably totally different things. When I think of happiness I imagine a rainy day, myself curled up on the couch with my best friend under blankets, reading or talking, and with a cup of tea.
I liked your post, very helpful, and the examples you gave were great. I agree with you on most of it except the abstraction losing meaning due to different interpretations. Although everybody's views of an abstract idea or thought is different, that just helps us adapt towards the poem (or other work). While imagery if not descriptive enough might make our reactions change more than abstraction. A description of the sky as blue might seem like a regular or dull day to someone living where the sky's usually clear, but it might seem like a rare or happy day to be remembered by someone who lives on place where it's always raining/snowing/cloudy. On the other hand, a description of the day as happy might invoke a a blue sky on many people, but a cloudy sky on others (like me); so my vision would be adapting to your feeling.

I think imagery goes well hand-in-hand with abstraction. Like in the poem "Enough," the poet combines both imagery with emotions/abstract descriptions, and it helps you visualize the setting and feel like you're there.

Still a great post - I'd also recommend maybe a few more non-visual examples.

>Certain foods apart from giving a visual and gustatory (taste) image, evoke a smell (like coffee), touch (hot cocoa makes you think of a cold area and the drinker getting warm), sound (eating crackers reminds you of the crunch), or all five (freshly-made chocolate chip cookies).
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:41 AM View Post #3 (Link)
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I'm bumping this thread because I want to rewrite this guide. The original was written in 2007, and many of us have learned a lot about imagery since then. I'd love input on what you'd like to see in a revamped and most likely longer imagery guide. Are there any questions you have about imagery in poetry? Dos and Don'ts? Types of imagery? Would you find more examples helpful? Are there any points you disagree with or found not developed enough in the first version?
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:05 AM View Post #4 (Link)
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I'd like to hear more about verbs in imagery. They're mentioned in connexion to "Enough" but I'd like more. I notice that lots of people, namely me, reach for nouns and adjectives, where the best images are the verbal ones. And I haven't been able to explain that in crits.
I also want to talk about imagery and "the atmosphere of the poem in question". A really good image can clash with a really good poem because of this.
Love more examples.

Your Black Snake and Fand article links don't go.

This guide is impressive and helpful and divine. I link or quote or paraphrase in nearly every crit.

--The following things really have no bearing on this thread, but they struck me.
A metaphor sounds like a false statement, until you realize the similarities between the two things being compared.
From a Yourdictionary guide.
Another guide form the poetry archive. Last paragraph is about imagery/atmosphere. Interesting especially because of those tree images-- the "green cloud riding a pole" shows me a green cowboy riding a pole (arm thrown up). Not a tree.
  
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:13 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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Originally Posted by lalodragon
I also want to talk about imagery and "the atmosphere of the poem in question". A really good image can clash with a really good poem because of this.
That's a really good idea - I'll address using images that are appropriate to the poem, to further the poem rather than provide decoration or sound/look good. Its something that I've been asked in the past that I'm not sure I have a good answer to - how do you pick images or metaphors that forward the poem and fit the poem and don't feel random? I'm not really sure, aside from trying stuff until it feels right, or using a previous image to derive your next image. I might also talk about contrast in imagery - sometimes an image seems to stick out in the poem, but it indicates a shift or a turn, a change in the atmosphere or a frustration of expectation. I might use examples from poetry on YWO to discuss this, but I might also find published examples. I'm not sure yet.

I fixed the Mary Oliver link (for now .. the page I linked to center aligns the poem, of all the horrifying things) but I'll have to address the stuff in the Fand article some other way. I don't totally remember it and I'm not sure what happened to the original link. I think that might go into the discussion of using strong verbs and of considering imagery as a scene rather than just tacking on extra description. A well written scene has less need for adjectives and adverbs. I assume this is what you mean? Using imagery to create a scene or tell a story, not just to gild the edges? Picking the right verbs and letting those do the work of adjectives, or creating active images?

Another edit: I might also be writing a guide to or a discussion of metaphor.
  
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:34 PM View Post #6 (Link)
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I only had time to skim read this, but from what I've seen (don't take this on if it doesn't apply) I think it'd be good if you looked into small images. How creating small ones can lead to something bigger, a build up of pictures that lead to paint the bigger picture. Like, how each image has to correspond to the underlying metaphor of the poem, etc.

The suggestion might sound like a lot of rubbish, but there you go, my warped view on poetry.

I also second Sara's idea, it'd be good to understand the atmosphere of a question. It's one of those things that if you don't get right, it ruins things drastically.
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I think if we were to compile everything we know about imagery it would be massive and bulky, but maybe a section about the different uses of imagery. So many teenage writers read about imagery and write a poem thinking "look at my detailed image" like that is the end of their poem. Understanding how images can be used to serve the poem, like the Surrealist collage poems that Dean Young does or the really beautiful dynamic images that you do, that sort of thing.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:17 PM View Post #8 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Peppermental View Post
I think if we were to compile everything we know about imagery it would be massive and bulky, but maybe a section about the different uses of imagery. So many teenage writers read about imagery and write a poem thinking "look at my detailed image" like that is the end of their poem. Understanding how images can be used to serve the poem, like the Surrealist collage poems that Dean Young does or the really beautiful dynamic images that you do, that sort of thing.
Here's my outline so far:

What is imagery, and why do we care?
- Imagery as the fabric of the poem and conveyer of meaning and emotion
- Imagery instead of or accompanying abstraction

Types of imagery
- sensory images
- surreal images: using sensory images to create something non-linear
- kinetic images, or creating imagery through verb choice
- conceptual images: synecdoche, metonymy, figurative speech

Imagery in context
- making your images fit into the poem
- building a series of images that relate to each other and to the main idea of the poem
- individual images at the service of a larger metaphor
- contrast: how to use it well to create transitions



If you have (or anyone has) got examples of different imagery types or just more poets to reference that would be super helpful.

I'll have to look into Dean Young more - people around here seem to really love him.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:05 PM View Post #9 (Link)
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that looks great. And Dean Young usually uses sort of surrealist images to show emotional transitions, like in this poem http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/241444
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[Peppermental] <333
[Rose] :o
[Jack] Caleb <3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
[Jack] 333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
[Jack] 33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
[Faust] Caleb!
[Rose] CALEB!
[Jack] 33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
[Peppermental] so jack.
[Jack] 33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
[Jack] 33333333
[Jack] 3
[Fi] CALEB!
[Rose] I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUU
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:02 AM View Post #10 (Link)
Isis (Offline)
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Updated version has been edited into the first post. Let me know if you think I should add, remove, or change something. This was a pretty big undertaking, so I hope you all find it helpful!
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