Imagism in English literature – Meaning and Characteristics


Imagism was a literary movement that belonged to the latter part of the Victorian Era, specifically to the 20th century. Prominent in the United States and the United Kingdom,it focused on the creation of a new form of poetry that broke free of traditional poetic forms and instead focused on sensual imagery.  

Characteristics of Imagism

Free Verse

Imagism celebrated the usage of free verse. It shunned rigid poetic forms and structures and instead preferred the natural flow a poem has.


Works produced under Imagism were very concise in nature. They preferred to short and succinctly bring out their central idea with a few words. 

Sensory Images

As mentioned above, such poems made use of sensuous imagery. Very often, the structure of the poem in itself brought out the intended image. That being said, they were still objective in nature without being tainted by the subjectivity of the poet. 

Imagism Major Poets List and Their Important Works

Ezra Pound

Pound was the founder of Imagism and one of its foremost pioneers. He is renowned for his “The Cantos” and “In a Station of the Metro”. 

Hilda Doolittle

Hilda Doolittle or ‘H.D” as she is professionally known is one of the most prominent of the Imagists. Famous works of hers include “Hymen” and “Sea Garden”.

William Carlos Williams

Yet another eminent Imagist would be Williams. He is best known for his “The Red Wheelbarrow”, a much-discussed and debated poem to date in the field of literature.


Imagism was hence a significant movement that greatly affected the literary landscape in the 20th century. It paved the way for modern poetry and is much celebrated even today.