The Imagist Poet

September 10 is the birthday of Hilda Doolittle one of the first of the Imagist Poets. She was born in Bethleham, Pa. in 1886. Often referred to as H.D., Doolittle was known not only as a poet but a novelist, writer of non-fiction and actress. She was friends with the ex-patriate poet, Ezra Pound who introduced her to the literati of Europe at the time. She was an admirer of Ancient Greek culture which is evident in her work. The Imagist style demands "the perfect word" and musical, lush visual language. Following is one of Doolittle's poems, "Stars Wheel in Purple," which comes close to the Imagist ideal:

Stars wheel in purple, yours is not so rare
as Hesperus, nor yet so great a star
as bright Aldeboran or Sirius,
nor yet the stained and brilliant one of War;

stars turn in purple, glorious to the sight;
yours is not gracious as the Pleiads are
nor as Orion's sapphires, luminous;

yet disenchanted, cold, imperious face,
when all the others blighted, reel and fall,
your star, steel-set, keeps lone and frigid tryst
to freighted ships, baffled in wind and blast.