Writing Flash Fiction: An Imagists Approach

Please forgive us, but your friends here at Limping Devil Press still have their senses still tuned to Valentine’s Day. That holiday whips us up into a frenzy. What can we say, we are Romanticists and romantics. We hope that you had a lovely holiday.

Okay, down to some flash fiction. It is after all Flash Fiction Friday. This week, Ezra Pound is helping us out. We are taking some tips from him and the Imagist movement he is associated with.

The Imagists were a group of Modern poets who believed in brevity – only use the words necessary to your piece and avoid the overuse of adjectives. The words a writer chose were selected because of their ability to convey the precise “thing” the writer aimed to highlight or emphasize.

Pound composed a few guiding principles of the movement:

I. Direct treatment of the “thing,” whether subjective or objective.
II. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
III. As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome.

An example of an Imagist poem:

“In a Station of the Metro”

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

This poem is brief and sharp. Pound applies the tenets of Imagism in his piece and we think writers of flash fiction can benefit from this approach to poetry. Use what the Imagists discovered to tightly tuning your prose. Flash fiction is short on space, so get the most out of the words you choose. Make them work.



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