Reading and writing exercises to improve your imagery
These exercises are so you can learn by doing, which is where most of the real learning happens. Some are so standard as to be attributable to no one, some are mine, others are pulled from a variety of sources.
Consider the forms of imagery in the following poems: Hardy’s “To A Darkling Thrush,” Frost’s “After Apple Picking,” Stephen Dunn’s “Happiness,” Paul Eluard’s “Blazon,” Moore’s “The
Imagery in context
Now that you have an idea of the many ways that imagery can be used in poetry, the next question is: how to use it well? What general principles can be used to figure out if an image will work in a poem and help the poem communicate?
It is important to use imagery to serve a coherent whole, and to try to keep the whole poem in mind when creating your images or when choosing details from life to put onto the page. This can be done in revision as well
4. Conceptual imagery
Often conceptual imagery manifests itself in metaphor, the extension of metaphor, or a moment of sensory perception in a phrase or sentence presenting an idea rather than a thing.
Sonnet 116 – William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
3. Kinetic imagery
Sound effects can create a sense of motion, but this isn’t precisely what I mean by kinetic imagery. Kinetic imagery is another application of sensual imagery that’s worth talking about because it rarely gets named or discussed, but can be incredibly important to a poem. Kinetic imagery is the creation of motion through an energetic and precise use of verbs, and the use of particular verbs to further an image. To investigate kinetic imagery, we’ll look more closely
2. Intuitive imagery
Intuitive imagery takes advantage of and often mimics the way our brains can hold many things together at once, or bounce around between different memories and ideas.
Scarecrow on fire – Dean Young
We all think about suddenly disappearing.
The train tracks lead there, into the woods.
Even in the financial district: wooden doors
in alleyways. First I want to put something small
into your hand, a button or river