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Poetry As Organised Violence, Committed Upon Ordinary Speech: Different Poems

1226 words - 5 pages

This essay intends to respond to the statement "Poetry is a form of organised violence committed upon ordinary speech” through the use of poetry by William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound and E.E.Cummings. Using the poems ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ and the untitled poem ‘poem’ (Williams), ‘In a Station of the Metro’ (Pound) and the untitled poem ‘Poem, or Beauty hurts Mr. Vinal’ (Cummings), this essay will attempt to show that different styles and lengths of poetry, with different subject matter through the use of syntax, typography and other poetic forms all present poetry as “ a form of organised violence committed upon ordinary speech”.
Imagist poetry was a movement of the twentieth century,which can be understood through the imagist manifesto created by Ezra Pound. Guidelines of the manifesto included rules such as words being exact and not simply decorative, to create new rhythms with the purpose of expressing new moods, subject matter could be wide ranging but the poet myst create a clear and precise image, it also placed supreme importance in concentration being the ‘essence of poetry’ (Moore.G, 2011). William Carlos Williams was an imagist poet, whose work followed the guidelines of the imagist manifesto.William’s untitled poem ‘poem’ demonstrates organised violence committed upon ordinary speech through the means of rhythm, lack of punctuation and stanza structure. Williams creates a rhythm which mirrors that of the image of the cat moving presented through the use of stressed syllables e.g. in cat, over, top etc this attention to syllable structure in itself its not normal in ordinary speech and could therefore be considered organised violence committed upon ordinary speech. The poem which is short and could be written as one sentence, has been broken into four stanzas it also has no full stop at the end and consists of a series of run-on lines therefore it is an example of organised violence committed upon ordinary speech, the violence of breaking the poem up from its form as a sentence into a poem is intentional and organised. William Carlos Williams poem ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ also presents the reader with multiple examples of organised violence committed upon ordinary speech. The poem using run on lines, is again broken into four stanzas despite being only one sentence in length, William’s careful word choice ‘glazed’ also presents not just an example of imagist poetry, where the need for the exact word as opposed to the decorative is essential but also an example of organisation, the poem which appears almost simplistic and everyday in that it is one image, one sentence has been broken up and organised, it is no longer ordinary speech, an act of organised violence has been committed upon it.
Ezra Pound, who created the imagist manifesto wrote the poem ‘In a Station of the Metro’. It is a short poem of only two lines, however if the title is included as part of the poem it follows a Haiku structure of three lines with five words in the...

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