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Imagist poetry and mathematics

This post is about something I’ve been thinking about since my undergraduate days–the parallels between mathematics and the Imagist movement in poetry.

The key idea of Imagism was that a poem should describe its subject as it “truly is”, without unnecessary words, and without introducing the feelings and personal perspectives of the poet. In its unattainable ideal, an Imagist poem is poet-independent, in that one would hope that two Imagist poets writing about the same subject would write the same poem. And that poem would be the perfect poem on that subject, using exactly the right words in the most elegant possible way.

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