Monday, March 25, 2013

Response to "Images" by Robert Hass

"Images" by Robert Hass is, predictably, full of images. He begins by describing his house late at night when everyone is asleep. And immediately, the reader visualizes the scene in his mind.

Hass then goes on to discuss several poems, namely haikus. He discusses the the images contained in such few words and tries to articulate what makes them so compelling. As I read through the various images Hass describes in the article, I kept thinking about something I had been told about writing descriptively: write using all the senses. Describe what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled (smelt?), and tasted in a scene. I think that, used correctly, this evokes an emotional reaction, a feeling.

For us Midwesterners, I'm sure this image evokes a very strong emotional reaction.

At one point Hass says:

"Images are not quite ideas, they are smaller than that, with less implication outside themselves. And they are not myth, they do not have that explanatory power; they are nearer to pure story. Nor are they always metaphors; they do not say this is that, they say this is" (275).
When I read this, I thought about my own process as a filmmaker. It's not uncommon for me to first come up with an image: an old man in a long coat and top hat, holds and umbrella waits outside at the shoreline in pouring rain as an old ship emerges from thick fog and begins to dock. The image comes first, and along with it a feeling, and then I develop a story based on that. Good imagery conjures up these feelings.

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