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March 29, 2010

I think everyone who tries to write has an ‘aesthetic’. Naturally it is constantly in flux and evolving and usually operates behind every artistic decision they make, but occasionally it is actually written down for all the world to see. For instance, here is the Imagist Manifesto, mapping out their view of what poetry should be.

From ‘An Imagist Manifesto’:

1.      To use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact

word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.

2.      We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better

expressed in free verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new

cadence means a new idea.

3.      Absolute freedom in the choice of subject.

4.      To present an image. We are not a school of painters, but we

believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in

vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this

reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to us to shirk the real

difficulties of his art.

5.      To produce a poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor


6.      Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very

essence of poetry.

Underneath I’ve drawn up an exciting (!) Aesthetics Quiz for all the family !

Aesthetics Quiz

  1. Choose three adjectives to describe prose/poetry at its most perfect.
  2. A work of art should … finish this sentence in at least three ways that make sense to you.
  3. Which is more important ? a, Style.


c, Or neither, because they’re inseparable.

4. Name the three most perfect literary works ever written.

5.What are, in your opinion, the key artistic movements ?

6. Who is your ideal audience?

7. I write because …Finish this sentence in at least two ways.

8. If you could choose three writers in any period to be your writing mentor who would it be?

And that’s more than enough for the moment. I’m going to lie down after my first proper blog post but shall attempt to answer these wonderful questions as soon as I can. In the meantime everyone chant ‘Tamagotchi don’t die!’

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 8:31 am

    1 Careful, sincere, moving
    2 make you think, feed your soul, impact on the everyday
    3 Content – because that’s the intention, the origin, style is just your own voice/ choice of mechanism applied to it
    5 question no 4 – deleted from this quiz because it must’ve been too beautiful… I haven’t read everything ever written, but thought how many miles to Babylon was pretty perfect, as is the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening in March.
    6 up and down
    7 anyone who’ll pay attention, or pay in.
    8 it’s a way of figuring out the world, it passes the time agreeably.
    9 Emily Dickinson, Aengus (ancient Irish poet), Steinbeck

    Fun quiz

  2. March 30, 2010 9:45 am

    Thanks Niamh. I agree with all of your first three adjectives. Have fixed the numbering issue. Interesting you went for content – I think my heart agrees with you but my head says that however wonderful the ideas and emotions are, if they aren’t presented in a form that shows them off at their best they won’t impact in the same way.
    I think a lot of people would agree with the Frost poem – it is seen as one of those perfect poems.
    Emily Dickinson would be some mentor – you would be using dashes and capitalisation all over the shop.

  3. Domesitc Oub permalink
    March 30, 2010 2:57 pm

    Goodness David. I read this on the ipod at sometime around 6am this morning when the baby – drunk on the freedom her newly bar removed cot has given her – decided to dance on my head and wake me up about six hours before I would like to have surfaced.

    It was too much to think about at six in the morning.

    And now I am too tired to put something coherent together.


    But hey, keep up the good work 🙂

  4. March 30, 2010 3:50 pm

    Ha ha – wow – that baby is getting versatile – waking up at strange hours, dancing on people’s heads. I know – it is a bit too much to take in possibly – I, myself, had to lie down in a dark room after posting it. I’ll get the balance right eventually!

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