Imaginism is a short-form of poetry that presents an image or concept with clarity, economy, and imagination. Its aim is not minimalism for minimalism's sake, but the attempt to be aesthetically "short and sweet." It is poetry that captures a moment in " the blink of an eye" or an idea in its "essence."
Imaginism as I conceive it, follows some of the same impulses as two historical poetic movements:
Imagism: an early 20th-century anglo-American poetry movement reflected in the work of T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, and William Carlos Williams.
Imaginism: a Russian avant-garde poetic movement that began after the Revolution of 1917.
I discovered Imagism after I was already experimenting with minimalist imagery, but immediately felt pulled to its aesthetic and point of view. I discovered Russian Imaginism when I Googled "imaginism" to see if the term was already in circulation. I have not read any Russian Imaginistic poetry.
My "Imaginism Project" involves:
identifying imaginistic poems in my own collection (over 100 poems to date!),
creating new imaginistic pieces from poems I have already finished (particularly moments or ideas from my narrative, existential, or ethical poems), and
continuing to pursue imaginistic poetry as a hallmark of my writing.
Although this is by definition a short form of poetry, I also have longer poems that connect shorter imaginistic units. Following a practice of art history, I refer to two-unit pieces as imaginistic diptychs and three-unit works as imaginistic triptychs (and so on, if I ever get there). And yes, I do realize that "No Two Fires the Same" is a stretch (literally). However, it was created in the image of imaginism long before I encountered imagism as a historical form, and long before I imagined this imaginism project!
Someday soon I hope to release an "Imaginism Project" collection. In the meantime, check back as I get more of my imaginistic poetry published in online and print journals and anthologies.
Russell's imaginistic poetry published to date:
"At the Edge (of a Lake)," Peeking Cat Literary, Issue 40 (January 28,
2021) read --an imaginistic triptych
"Broken Poem," Adversity, THE POET, 2021.
"Crystalled Night Redemption," October Hill Magazine, Volume 7,
Issue 1 (Spring 2023). (a triptych) read
"Handful of If," Vermont Public Radio, 2021.
"Joy," The Write Launch, Issue 21 (January 2019). read
"Mere Joy," Love Wins! March 12, 2021. read
"New Moon in Winter Dusk-Night," Vermilion, Flash Issue 5
“No Two Fires the Same,” (imagistic diptych)
Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Elements, Issue 8.4 (Winter 2022) read
"Not Mine To Be," Cathexis Northwest, November 2019. read
" "Que Será - Mother's Stare," The Write Launch, Issue 47 (March 2021).
"Quest[ion]," Breathe, July 2021. read
"Sunburnt Love," Sledgehammer Literary Journal, April 7, 2021. read
"Surf," Love Wins!, July 30, 2022. read
"Unseparate," Intangible Magazine, Vol 1 (2021). read
"You" Close Up: Poems on Cancer, Grief, Hope, and Healing, Orchard
Lea Press, 2022. purchase