So we have H.D.'s Sea Rose, which is a classic instance of images. And what kind of rose is this rose in this poem, Allie, what kind of rose is it? >> It's definitely pretty unusual, I mean, the first adjective to describe it is harsh. So that's very far from the rose that we've kind of grown accustomed to, otherwise. >> What would be the adjective you would use to the rose we've grown accustomed to? >> Delicate, as opposed to harsh. >> Delicate, keep going. >> Beautiful. >> Lovely. >> Yeah. >> Soft. >> Soft. >> Silk. >> And the rose that we're used to is non-symbolic and means nothing, it's simply a rose? >> And it represents love and beauty and romance. >> It's almost inherently symbolic at this point. Anybody have a problem with the symbolism of the rose? You don't really, do you? Emily, lets face it, you love roses. >> Of course, they're awesome. >> [LAUGH] >> And you understand why, do you really? >> No. [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] >> You don't, okay, does anybody? I want somebody who really loves roses. Ameris when you receive a dozen huge American Beauty roses, you're happy. >> No, kind of seems like a cliche, it's a little bit dated, kind of empty of meaning, it's impersonal- >> So how do we put our finger on what H.D.- >> Trite, thoughtless, I'm sorry. [LAUGH] >> You've obviously thought about this. >> [LAUGH] >> How do we put a finger on the radical response or reaction to what came before the symbolization of things, like roses, that is expressed by H.D. and her imagist colleagues? Or by H.D. and her early modernist colleagues. So how would you summarize that, generally, based on this rose problem? The idea that language is empty and that the rose is cliche, and that the symbolism doesn't work anymore. >> That imagism was trying to be innovative and to create concrete, exact descriptions based on physical perceptions, direct experience. >> Could the lovely, beautiful, you can't blame the American Beauty rose for being symbolic, rose itself, the rose that is a rose that is a rose. Could that rose ever recover it's original, it's a thing ness, potentially? >> Perhaps that's part of the goal is if the language is reinvigorated, it creates a new way of thinking about that dead, old symbol, and bringing it to the present day. >> Good, great, I do think so, I do think so. So how does this poem work in the movement, in the revisionist activity of trying to restore meaning to words and images that have become cliche? Max, well, start us off, what does it do that helps that project along? >> Well, it acknowledges that there are other sides to the symbols that we take for granted. That the American Beauty rose, the rose that symbolizes love, or for a long time symbolized love and romances- >> [COUGH] >> Is sort of a product of artifice, that it's been pruned and de-thorned, and it's dead. There are roses- >> What was the sense in that? And the American Beauty rose is not natural because we prune and we primp and we make it right so that, in a sense, it's kind of our intervention in evolutionary botany. By creating this enormous, we do this with dogs as well, but let's not get into dogs. >> Sure. [LAUGH] >> This enormous, gorgeous thing, and you're calling that artifice. >> Absolutely, I mean, not to say that that's a bad thing. >> You're going against the basis of American commercialism or something like- >> [LAUGH] >> That there's a lot of stuff that's discarded along the way when you make a bouquet. >> Discarded and also not paid attention to, so that's what this rose is. So Molly, tell us a little more about this particular rose, in these words here on this page. >> Well, it's in the same family as the traditional rose we think of. But she kind of tosses aside our preconception about the rose right away, when she says, harsh, and this is a very sort of battle-scarred rose, it seems like, she says it's marred. >> What kind of battle has it been through? >> It's flung on the sand, it's lifted in the wind, and driven into the sand. >> Where is it? >> It's at the sea. >> It's a seashore rose, it's a really tough old rose. And meager, let's find words for this, anybody. Harsh, marred, stint of petals, what does that mean, Dave? >> A limited amount of petals, that they've been shorn off. >> Yeah, the petalling is stinting, you get a few. Stint is a great word for that, I mean, she really picked the exact word. The imagists came up with their manifesto, which was kind of mostly impossible to implement, and fantastic in the sense of fantasy. The kind of fantasy of objectivity that they had to know, at least someone like Ezra Pound, H.D., they had to know theoretically impossible. But nonetheless they write, to use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact word, not the nearly exact, nor the merely decorative word. Stint is not a decorative word, we'll admit, even today. Tell us about the sound of stint and why that seems to be not just the exact word in terms of its image, but in terms of its sound. Anna, this is an easy question for you. >> Well, I think stint just because of the way it sounds. It sounds cut off, it sounds short, and it sounds, When you say it, it's like stinted or stunted, it's a very crisp word. >> It sounds what it is, it has that wonderful coupling between its semanticism and its sound. I mean, this is what poetry is supposed to be doing. I think that if you sat H.D. down at the time, in the early teens when she wrote this, and said to her, the early part of the teens in the 20th century, and said to her, how does stint work for you? She would say, I'm trying to create not just, as Pound and others say, an image, I'm also trying to create a word that by its very sound evokes the image. Any others, meager, thin, sparse? >> Stunted. >> Stunted, very much like stint. >> I think the whole poem is replete with those harsh-sounding consonants that sort of stop the breath as you read it. And it's in a huge contrast to lyrical poetry, romantic poetry that prides itself on very rounded vowel sounds. >> And that runs right through the stop signs that are supposed to be at the end of the lines. These flowery Victorian or post-Victorian, Edwardian poems that are engaging in decorative language, in philosophical language that are trying to make poetry a thing of ideas. The imagists really didn't want to think of themselves as poets of ideas. They didn't think of themselves as bardic, which makes them not really Whitmanian at all. But if I can quote a couple of lines from a poem that is easy to beat up, but whatever, that is the kind of poem that the imagists reacted against. We have the American, very popular poet, Edwin Markham, who wrote a poem about Lincoln, Abe Lincoln. Which begins, when the Norn Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour Greatening and darkening as it hurried on, she left the Heaven of Heroes. Heaven of Heroes is capitalized, and came down to make a man to meet the mortal need. See that iambic in that last line, a revue, to make a man to meet the mortal need. It's so emphatic, it's so authoritative, it is so different from Sea Rose. She took the tired clay of the common road, Lincoln's made of clay. Clay warm yet with the genial heat of Earth. Dash through it. All a strain of prophesies like a recipe for making a hero, an American hero. You have little this, a little strain of prophesy. Talk about vague. Tempered with, temper the heat with thrill of human tear. A little tears in the recipe then mix, mix a laughter with the serious stuff. I mean this is I'm sorry Edwin Markham, just awful. Big. >> Well it hurts because it if called, 'Lincoln a Man of the People'. And this language is not the language of the people. The language- >> It's ironic. It's form, it's style, it's manner is ironic given it's democratic politics. Wow, are you doing implicitly a political reading of imaginism as progressive? >> No. >> This is going to be hard? >> No. >> [LAUGH] We won't go there but you see how it might point in that way? >> If you want to go there, go there. I'm just saying that the language is- >> You're saying it's ironic in that the state is either moving in a different political direction or she's not going to engage >> In that kind of implication. Either one. I'm not sure which. And as it gets really complicated because of his later politics but his tendency to be manifesto like has to do very much with the current clearing, the landscape of crappy language. Make it new he would say. Well let's look at the rhetoric of this thing. Rose harsh rose marred with stinted pedals, so far we have an incomplete sentence, a fragment. Yes, Emily you know sentences and grammar pretty well, what are we doing here what's happening. I'll read it, you tell me grammatically, logically is happening. Rose harsh, rose marred and with stint of petals meager flower thin a sparse of leaf. Do we have a sentence yet? Do we have a verb? >> No, no verb. >> It's a fragment. It's exactly what we think imagism should be. It's a pure objective, quote unquote, objective description. More precious, we're still,she's still describing it. Than a wet rose, single on a stem, dash now what's going to happen? >> It's apostrophe, she's speaking to the rose, it never completely syntactical. >> It's an address. If she used a colon it would be really clear. It'd be a way of saying, dear sea rose, you are caught in the drift. So there we finally get a subject, you, and the predicate are caught and then a prepositional phrase, and then a period. So why would she use the second person? Why would an imagist's poem address the object of scrutiny? Any ideas? Ann Malice? I believe she's addressing herself, I think the zeros is HD. >> Wait a minute. >> Symbolic alert. >> Yeah I mean that's why I think HD can be confined to images though. [LAUGH] I'm not sure that she can confined to the images category or maybe she does. >> And this is a classic though. This is an images classic. In the poem sense of infusing this with this emotional intensity complexity he speaks of. But I believe she's bad, I believe she's speaking to herself. >> So you're going to be reading and believe that the Sea Rose is HD. She's tough, she's stinted. It's almost an autobiography of the start. >> I think so. >> Yeah, I think she's caught between sea and shore. And that was very much the case in her, in terms of sexuality, in terms of profession. >> Okay, so let's stop and think about interpretation here. >> Okay. >> Which is what we're doing so we're violating something at least. So she says, sea rose, rose, harsh rose. Williams, William Carlos Williams, much later in Spring and all says the rose is up. So leap, we have to find something new. And in that poem, that piece of Spring and all, he imagines a porcelain rose, he imagines a metal rose. He's trying to do what painters were doing by breaking images into their particular part. So that gets past imagism into something like cubism. And the principle of Stein's, Gertrude Stein's "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." there were three of them originally in 1913. And she wrote a book called "Sacred Emily." Later it became "Rose is a rose is a rose" or "A rose is a rose." the principle there is A equals A. A equals itself. It doesn't mean something else and then you get versions of anti-symbolism and versions of anti-interpretation as versions of anti-Freudianism later when someone says jokingly, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. What's the gist of that? Max, when someone says, come on, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. >> They're telling them not to read too much into it in the Freudian sense. >> A cigar in the Freudian sense would be the guy with the cigar is very phallic. He's very sort of male but sometimes he's just enjoying a cigar. Is he? >> [LAUGH] >> Okay, so is he is the question, is she? Ann Marice, back to you. Is she, is it possible that sometimes a sea rose is exactly what she sees, and nothing more? And you gotta stop doing the subjectivity game on it, you've been too well educated. >> It's possible, it's possible, it's possible. [LAUGH] >> Do you appreciate the sentiment, the radical, naked nude, clear the landscape sentiment, I'm going to turn this to Dave, of stop interpreting the rose. It is a rose. And we should probably look freshly at what we see in the world, at that's going to make things better. Your with that? >> Yeah, I agree with that. I think the very first line emphasizes that. The first word using rose that automatically conjures up all the symbolism, and the next word heart subverts it right away. Now the Imagists also said in their manifesto that they want to present an image there not as school painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities. We want to create an image of poetry that is hard and clear, hard and clear. That would imply that images in poetry must be an image, a static image, something that's caught. Objective in the way that early photography was thought to be objective. Is there anything in this poem that tends to work against the static idea, the idea of the static image, of the image of the thing caught? Anything, can you look and find anything that suggests movement? >> You were flung on the sand and lifted. >> How about verbally, syntactically, grammatically? Is there anything that suggests motion? Or change rather than stasis? The tense of the verb is interesting because it's you are flung and you are lifted. >> As opposed to? >> I mean you can say, if you got rid of the you are flung. >> It's passive so you'd have to actually find out who's doing the flinging. >> Right. >> So actually you're wrong. And I've known you for a long time. And this is the first time you've been wrong. >> No, it's not. >> Okay, no, I wanted to say that. Because you are flung, creating passive actually reinforces the static quality. Because instead of something doing the flinging You are in the state of having been flown. So yes, there is some motion implied. You're not totally wrong but she's doing a good job. You are flying, you are lifted. It's almost action that's kind of been rendered. No there's something else. And I'm going to turn to Emily again, because she's really always thinks about grammar. [LAUGH] I'm sorry Emily. >> That's all right. >> Is there anything, especially in the second half of the poem that suggests >> Change, shift, motion, position, position change. It's okay if you don't know. All the verbs seem passive which means it sort of reinforces the asthetic- >> Get away from the verbs. Warning, warning. Get away from the verbs- >> Dammit. >> She's really going to be stinting with the verbs. She's really not going to give you an inch on the verbs. >> Could it be drip? Could it be that sort of production that's implied in dripping and- >> I hardly ever do this in teaching but I'm thinking of something you're not thinking of. So you're in this bad, old, professional situation of having to guess what's on my mind. >> Is that the question at the end? >> The question at the end I'm going to get to, and I think that's one of them. But I also want us to look at the prepositional phrases. This writer, HD, really was the master of the use of the prepositional phrase, Williams also. What do prepositional phrases tend to do, Molly? In generally writing, tough question. >> Tough question. >> You are flung on the sand, how does on the sand work? You technically don't need on the sand for the grammar. >> Yeah, I mean it modifies the verb. >> What does it do to the situation? >> Tells you where the action is happening. >> Sets a position, right, prep-position I guess there must be some kind of, the word position is in there, is in it? Maybe not. But the point is that prepositional phrase is located. They modify a situation by locating. So we have caught in the drift with small leaf on the sand in the crisp sand. In the wind. So how does lead to a minor violation of the rule, of implicit rule, that in the images, the classic images found needs to be still. >> Well, if it was still, there would only be one prepositional phrase throughout. >> Correct, absolutely. You redeemed yourself. Yes, so the repetition, listen to the repetition. You are caught, you are flung, you are lifted, Right? It's almost in its loving of repetition. And it's shift or Hemingwayesque. In the early Hemingway of things that slightly shift. Almost Cubistic. Almost. You are caught. You are flung. You are lifted. In the drift, on the sand, in the crisp sand, in the sand, in the crisp sand, on the sand, in the wind so what we have here is a slightly rotating situation, partly because of the natural setting which is the sea. Takes the static rows, American beauty rows, makes it small, acrid, sharp, watch out, it's tough. Puts it at an ocean which is ovulating, whatever that word is, it's constantly moving. There's a dynamism of the sea that almost makes the programistics poem impossible. Now let's turn quickly to the rhetorical question at the end. Can the spice rose drip such acrid fragrance hardened in leaf? What kind of question is that? >> She is creating a comparison between the original harsh rose of the first line and the >> This unidentified spice rose. >> It seems to be a distinction between her rose, the one that she's trying to recover, recuperate its reputation with this other rose. And the spice rose seems to be still not an American Beauty rose. It seems to be fuller, has a nice fragrance, yes? >> So far as we understand it, it's got different names. Rose, there are millions of roses, so what is she saying by comparing by comparison? >> She's focussing on scent it seems now towards the end and saying that hers is more potent or pungent and drips acrid fragrance. >> You want acrid? She says you want acrid you spice rose plants? Those of you who go tot he florist and ask for the spice rose. You know what? Just go down to the sea with me and you can pick all the sea roses you want for free. It even rhymed, oops. >> [LAUGH] >> One more thing, one more thing. The American beauty rose, John D. Rockefeller writing a little before this time, created an analogy between the American Beauty Rose and its splendor with the way American capitalism needs to work. Yes, dear. It's a famous statement. The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it. This is not an evil tendency in business, it is merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God. I don't know what HD, getting back to politics, would say about that. But since we're talking roses, the American Beauty Roses, the beauty that is created by sacrificing other things. And it's an aesthetic choice. Rockefeller was creating an analogy to the kind of business It goes in and sacrifices jobs. Or, goes in and sacrifices parts of the business in order to let the best business flourish creating an analogy between nature, and business and America. We don't really know where HD would stand on this. Or, someone, who really knows HD. HG's life and biography and politic might, I don't, but once the specs set the images revolution was a way of clearing the bullshit. Both in the direction of analogies to something that is social in economics as opposed to natural. And as a way of restoring the meaning to precise statements.