Saturday, April 13, 2013

Less is More

The best thing I've read so far in my American Literature class is a poem called "In a Station of the Metro" published in 1916 by Ezra Pound.  It is said to be one of the best representations of the "imagist" movement in poetry.  I say less is more because the poem only contains fourteen words, but I think after you read it, you'll see why I say that.

I tend to fixate on poets who can do this.  I find it to be one of my favourite aspects of good writing in poetry and I don't think many can pull it off.  There are only a few that I know of that can do it well and when you read their poetry, you are left thinking of the images for the rest of the day.  Pure, raw and gripping.  I love it. 

My lame-o classmates didn't want to discuss the poem at all and unfortunately the professor moved on from it because no one had any opinions to share (except for me)! Jerks!  I had a comment I was going to bring up about an author that could really use "less" rather than "more" in her writing.  Danielle Steel - PAY ATTENTION!  I tried to read one of her books and had to put it down after 50 pages.  I'm actually surprised I got that far.  Thesaurus much, Danielle?  Geezus!

I would love some (serious) reaction to the poem.  Thoughts?  What does it make you think of?  Do you even like it?  Do you agree that "less is more" here?  In poetry?  In general writing?  



  1. I think it is a great challenge for writers to try and condense their thoughts/ideas down to tiny poems like this. Sometimes I go through old journal entries to see if I can find a few short lines that start to come together into a small poem.

    You might also like the work of Lorine Niedecker, who wrote about poetry writing as being a "condensery."

    Thanks for sending me the link to this post! :)

    1. Thanks for the tip. I'll check her out. I thought you might enjoy the post. Maybe you can share this poem with your poetry class and see what they think. Maybe they'll have more to offer than my class did. I think a brick wall would have more to offer, though. :D

  2. Oh! we studied this poem in a Lit. class during the summer and this is the poem that made me fall in love with brief poetry esp. the haiku.

    pound's poem is so visual it is stunning.

    1. Wish you had been in my class the other night! Everyone else was a bump on a log.

      My most wonderful 'Fragments' writer achieves this kind of writing in every poem he writes as I'm sure you've noticed.

  3. unfortunately, ezra pound was a fascist and supporter of mussolini. but that aside, his image poems were revolutionary and were models for great then modern poets like robert frost and ee cummings and even writers like hemingway. they are more than minimalist though...a great ability to evoke images and stir feelings like the great observer he must have been.
    for that poem, i don't really understand why he used that spacing, but it works. he's perhaps looking through a rain-soaked window from a metro station and people appear as ghostly petals without distinction.

    1. We didn't really go much into his background of being a fascist (gasp!), just the poem and his contribution to imagism. I wondered about the spacing too. Maybe just to make one pause instead of just zippin' through the poem. At least it made you think which is so rare for you, Peter. =D

  4. so much depends
    a red wheel
    glazed with rain
    beside the white

    william carlos williams

    1. Yes, we read this one as well as "Spring and All". I'm not a fan of males who have the same first and last name. What parents do this to their children? Stupid.

      "Spring and All" was a mess, btw.


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