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The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition
Paul Lauter, General Editor
Sample Assignments

Hands-on Imagism
Peggy Poteet, May 09, 2002

Description of assignment:
For an introduction to Imagism and the Modernist era, I brought various "subjects" to class. (i.e. silk Japanese shoes, a rose, a starfish, a twig, an old Japanese fan. I asked the students to chose one and to write down a list of images they experienced from studying the item (anything that appealed to the senses). I talked about H.D., Pound, Amy Lowell, Flint, and Adington and their imagist poems. We listened (on CD) to Pound, HD, and Stein read their poetry. We read Pound's "Retrospect" where he gives three characteristics (requirements) for an imagist poem. Then I asked them to use their list of concrete details to form a poem Pound might approve of. We had a poetry reading at the next class period and "published" the poems on the wall. You could also create your own "Poetry" magazine ala Harriet Monroe. I think writing these poems will help them understand and remember this significant but brief movement in American literature.

Description of the course in which the assignment was used:
Survey of American Literature II for English majors (but this assignment would work also with a "general" audience).

Private, Four-year College

Course coverage:
From Mid-19th to Modern Literature

What pedagogical goals do you think this assignment achieves:
Kinesthetic experience
Application of poetic terms
Creative expression

Assignment type:
Oral Readings
In-Class Writing
Non-Traditional Writing Projects

Relevant URLs:
None listed.

Poetic Form

Related authors and groups:
William Carlos Williams