The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English

By Ian Hamilton | Go to book overview

I

IGNATOW, David ( 1914- ), was born in Brooklyn, the only son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. The onset of the Depression forced him to leave college in his freshman year and take a series of low-payingjobs. He married artist Rose Graubart in 1938, and they have two children. Showing the clear influence of William Carlos ★William , his first book. Poems ( 1948), was as simple and direct as its title, mostly urban, spare free verse in service of a 'hard core realism literally presented'.

The main literary current, still under the spell of ★ Eliot and ★ Pound's neoclassic modernism, ran against him, but a second volume. The Gentle Weight Lifter ( 1955) had the help of a positive review by Williams himself. The next few decades, which included publication of his strongest work, Figures of the Human: Poems ( 1964) and Rescue the Dead ( 1968), involved editing and teaching, while recognition grew as Ignatow deepened his naturalistic mode with surreal invention narrative functioning as metaphor to limn an unjust world. His verse became a species of social protest but also explored domestic, even ★confessional themes, particularly fierce father-son conflicts.

Ignatow won the Bollingen Prize in 1977. Robert Bly edited his Selected Poems ( Chicago, 1975), and parts of his candid journals have been published as The Notebooks of David Ignatow, ed. Ralph J. Mills. Jr. ( Chicago, 1973). The fullest collections of his work are Poems 1934-69 ( 1970) and New and Collected Poems, 1970-1985 ( 1986 -- both Middletown, Conn). [EB

Imagism, a poetical movement instigated by American poets in London, roughly coterminous with the First World War. There were four numbers of an annual anthology, 1914-17. Its main associates were the Americans Ezra ★Pound, H. D. (Hilda ★Doolittle), John Gould ★Fletcher, and Amy ★Lowell, and the Britons Richard ★Aldington (who for a time edited the movement's chief organ, the Egoist) and F. S. ★Flint.

T. E. ★Hulme was a seminal figure. Flint describes meetings in 1909 where Hulme, he, and some others discussed how contemporary poetry might be revivified by ★vers libre, by the influence of the Symbolistes, and by forms derived from the Japanese tanka and haiku. Among Hulme's circle was Pound newly arrived from America. Two years later Pound's former fiancée, H.D., also came to London and with her future husband Richard Aldington began to sculpt poems whose severity Pound admired ( 'Sraight talk, straight as the Greek!'). in 1912 Pound told these two that they were 'Imagistes', and sent their work to Harriet Monroe's ★ Poetry. The word Imagiste first occurred in print in Pound's prefatory note to the poems of Hulme; and the first statements of an evolving programme appeared in Poetry for March 1913: 'Imagisme', printed over Flint's signature and purporting to be an interview with an Imagiste (in fact all contrived by Pound); and 'A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste' signed by Pound himself. The first enumerated the cardinal rules of the movement as '1. Direct treatment of the "thing" . . . 2. To use absolutely no word that did not contribute to the presentation. 3 . . . . to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome'; 'A Few Don'ts', meanwhile, proscribed superfluous words, abstractions, and iambs.

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The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Selection of Anthologies xi
  • Key to Contributors xiv
  • Alphabetical List of Contributors xvii
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 80
  • D 113
  • E 143
  • F 156
  • G 179
  • H 206
  • I 247
  • J 251
  • K 266
  • L 284
  • M 318
  • N 375
  • O 393
  • P 407
  • Q 436
  • R 437
  • S 468
  • T 533
  • U 555
  • V 557
  • W 562
  • Y 593
  • Z 599
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