Alarmingly, the entry for “Image” in The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics begins: “‘Image’ and ‘imagery’ are among the most widely used and poorly understood terms in poetic theory, occurring in so many different contexts that it may well be impossible to provide any rational, systematic account of their usage.” But we’re going to try anyway, by exploring how the ingredients of concrete nouns, sensual specifics, evocation/imitation, figure + subjective feeling somehow add up to—what shall we call it?—an “expressive amplification” that can utterly transform a poem. Is it magic, even after we identify what went into it? Maybe—but we’re magicians in training. Bring your wands and familiars—we’ll include a short generative session.
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Patrick Donnelly is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Little-Known Operas (Four Way Books, 2019). About Donnelly, Gregory Orr wrote “everything he writes is suffused with tenderness and intelligence, lucidity and courage.” Donnelly is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place, Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH, now a center for poetry and the arts. Former poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, Slate, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Yale Review, and many other journals. Donnelly’s translations with Stephen D. Miller of classical Japanese poetry were awarded the 2015-2016 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Donnelly’s other awards include a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program Award, an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Amy Clampitt Residency Award.