Some students at MIT have created an online edition of Ezra Pound’s famous 1914 anthology Des Imagistes. (The linked Wikipedia article has a great Richard Aldington quote about the title: “What Ezra thought that meant remains a mystery, unless the word ‘Anthologie’ was assumed to precede it. Amy’s anthologies were called Some Imagist Poets, so she may have supposed that Ezra thought ‘Des Imagistes’ meant ‘Quelques Imagistes.’ But why a French title for a collection of poems by a bunch of young American and English authors? Search me. Ezra liked foreign titles.”) Unfortunately, it’s a somewhat careless job—Joyce’s poem “I hear an army charging upon the land” is pretty much spoiled by the typo “My heart, have you no wisdom thus to dispair?”—but fortunately there’s a pdf of the anthology that allows you to read from the book itself, and a beautiful thing it is. (Via MetaFilter, where I wrote “It’s pretty funny to see poor Amy Lowell facing W.C. Williams across the gutter, and if you turn the page you’re confronted by Joyce and Pound—those were the days!”)


  1. Punch discovered a misprint in one of my peace poems in the Irish Times, Alfred Noyes once recalled. “My verses had depicted a family dreaming of the homecoming of their soldier from the wars while ‘All night he lies beneath the stars, And dreams no more out there.’
    “The Irish Times printed it as ‘All night he lies beneath the stairs’ and made matters worse by adding: ‘Only a true artist could achieve this effect of quietly hopeless tragedy.’ Punch seized upon this and said that if I could express a wish for the New Year, it would probably be to meet the editor of the Irish Times. Oddly enough, a week or two later I found myself sitting next to him at a public dinner and, as an opening gambit to our conversation, remarked that we had recently been in Punch. To my surprise he blushed violently and said something about having dismissed two printers, for it was the fourth time in the last month or two he had found himself in Punch.” —The Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes

  2. Perhaps Pound was trying to commit bad German, imagining Imagistes* to be a genitive form?
    *verbal wordplay is intended only if you like it; otherwise it is disowned as purely accidental.

  3. Unfortunately, it’s a somewhat careless job
    Yeah, the first poem I opened at random, Amy Lowell’s “In a Garden,” had a bad typo too:
    “I wanted to see you in the swimming-pool,
    White and shinning in the silver–flecked water.”
    Very different image.

  4. I did bookmark the site, though. So thanks!

  5. John Emerson says

    It was interesting for me to see Imagism in context. Except for what’s in Pound’s “Personae” I haven’t read much of it for a long time. The unevenness is pretty striking, and H.D., stands out for the flawlessness of what she does, which is really necessary for that kind of poetry.
    Modernist as it was, it often still has a lingering Edwardian or pre-Raphaelite flavor.
    I recently looked at Tristan Corbiere again, and realized that that’s where Pound got his chatty / scrappy / slangy style from. I don’t especially like it in either poet, though I enormously admire Corbiere’s best stuff.

  6. Isn’t it a play on, e.g. Les Symbolistes? Ez sez

    … we thought we had as much right to a group name, at least as much right, as a number of French “schools” proclaimed by Mr. Flint in the August number of Harold Munro’s magazine for 1911.

    The 1911 incarnation of the Poetry Bookshop’s magazine would be Georgian Poetry, I think. Doesn’t seem to be scanned online, though the rare book room of the library down the hill seems to have Hilaire Belloc’s former copies.

  7. Чеширский кот says

    I did bookmark the site, though. So thanks!

  8. Krown, A.J.P. says

    Is that Cheshire cat in Russian?

  9. A. J. P. Crown says

    Did you serve in the Sussex Yeomanry in WW2? Were you a member of Kensington Borough Council in the early fifties? AREN’T YOU, IN FACT, the late Maurice Macmillan, grandson of the Duke of Devonshire; son of Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister in the early sixties and first Earl of Stockton?
    I’ve been on to you for a while now. It was the initials that gave you away.

  10. A. J. P. Crown says

    There was a possibility you could have been Mick McManus, British nineteen-sixties television wrestler well known for using short range forearm jabs in matches, but since he now works for Uxbridge-based Anixter Wire and Cable, in public relations, and you live in Boston, I just thought the commute was too long for an eighty-year-old.
    But don’t say I didn’t do the research.

  11. A. J. P. Crown says

    Mick Mc Manus’s wife, Mrs Mc Manus, was in charge of finding students cheap housing when I was an art student in the early seventies. It was hard to see her married to a wrestler, she just didn’t seem the type. She never found me any housing.

  12. Is that Cheshire cat in Russian?
    It is indeed. And it’s used by a nasty Russian spammer, but I deleted the spam URL and kept the comment because the name was so charming.
    By the way, I’ve been offline for a couple of days; sorry about the influx of spam and lack of new material!

  13. Everybody is busy this time of year, but of course we missed LH, as well as our daily chew toy. I was forced to read several books instead.

  14. Oh, I wasn’t any busier than usual, it’s just that my service provider stopped providing service, allegedly because of the winter storm.

  15. The MIT site is now kaput.

  16. MMcM’s name is readily determinable from the Internet, if not quite as readily as mine is.

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