This poem is short enough to just share, so here it is:
Whirl up, sea—
whirl your pointed pines.
splash your great pines
on our rocks.
hurl your green over us—
cover us with your pools of fir.poetryfoundation.org
Now, if you don’t know: this is a poem by H.D. titled “Oread.” It deals with some interesting visual themes, including those of land and sea, which provide a stark sort of visual clarity for the reader in contrast. This is the imagist’s line of thinking and H.D. is a perfect example of how this style is executed.
Just like Gertrude Stein, H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) was born in Pennsylvania (Bethlehem to be specific), and she attended Bryn Mawr and the University of Pennsylvania. There, she befriended authors Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (poetry.org). She ended up living in Europe and traveling abroad for most of her life. She also became heavily involved in the Imagist movement (poets.org).
The Imagist movement involved Ezra Pound, H.D., Richard Aldington, and F.S. Flint, and it “was inspired by the critical views of T.E. Hulme, in revolt against the careless thinking and Romantic optimism he saw prevailing” (Britannica). The idea was for poets to write “succinct verse of dry clarity and hard outline” to give a distinct visual style. Now, if you are to reread Oreard (up top), this might make a little more sense.
H.D. published her first collection of poems in 1916, which was named Sea Garden. As some have argued, “her work is characterized by the intense strength of her images” and while her poems did not reach acclaim in her lifetime, “Some of her earliest poems gained recognition when they were published by Harriet Monroe in Poetry in 1913” (poetry.org).
Some of H.D.’s other works included:
- Flowering of the Rod (1946)
- Red Roses from Bronze (1932)
- Hymen (1921)
- Tribute to Freud (1956)