Imagism Definition

Name given to a movement in poetry aimed at clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images. In the early period often written in the French form Imagisme. To use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.


Imagism is a type of poetry that uses clear and direct statements in order to put an exact picture in the reader's head. Imagism started becoming popular in the early 1900's when a number of poets decided to stray away from the abstract wording most poetry at the time had. These poets saw significance in painting an obvious picture in the reader's mind in order to send their message through a poem.

A poem that is written using the imagism style should easily and quickly create visual images that tell the story. This style uses the most simple words and explanations in the poem. Whatever the poet is attempting to express must be very clear in Imagism poetry. The words used must be precise in the way that they portray an exact image.

Many imagist poets follow a set of rules when writing. The main subject of the poem must be clear and the poem directly deals with the main subject at hand. There are no words used in imagism that do not directly contribute to the story or message of the poem. Imagist poets write in a way that flows well but does not follow a regular rhythm. 

Imagism Poem Example

Autumn by T. E. Hulme

A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

Top 5 Imagism Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem Take Me Somewhere Exotic Cozart, Dale Gregory Imagismcolor, imagery, lost love,
Premium Member Poem Peacocks and Predators Mac Donald, Michelle Imagismanimal, identity,
Swallow Whole The Moon Capitano, Phil Imagismimagery, nature, poetry,
Premium Member Poem Absinthe Leaves Cozart, Dale Gregory Imagismautumn, imagery, sky, tree,
Premium Member Poem Bird of Prey Cozart, Dale Gregory Imagismbird, imagery,

Other Imagism Definition

[n] a movement by American and English poets early in the 20th century in reaction to Victorian sentimentality; used common speech in free verse with clear concrete imagery


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