When writing descriptive poetry it becomes increasingly necessary to review exactly what imagery is and its innate relevance to poetry as an art form.
Imagery Is Description
Have you ever been in a situation where an instructor mentioned the catch phrase, “Be as descriptive as possible?” In short, imagery can best be defined as descriptive language.
If you take that definition one step further and apply it to the human senses, then the definition becomes descriptive language that has the ability of appealing to the five senses. Although, that does not necessarily mean that imagery applies to all five senses collectively.
Most often used in poetry, imagery can be used in just about any form of writing. Whether fiction or nonfiction, imagery is what provides the color, or what a reader can see in his or her mind’s eye about a particular written work. Contemporary examples of imagery in action include stories in the newspaper, crime scene reports and of course, works of fiction.
Imagery is also used in songs, movies, television shows and everyday reports. It is the way in which the writer or author of a particular work conveys texture and vividness to the reader. It is also the way in which the writer shows the reader the intended image of the work, instead of telling them.
Imagery Surrounds You
If you are a fan of music, then imagery surrounds you in songs. Many people agree that songs are but poetry set to music.
If you consider this statement to be true, then it could be said that the verses in your favorite song (that may be stuck in your head) are a good place to start when you are looking for samples of imagery in everyday works. Whether you like hip-hop, pop, rock and roll, country or soul, music is as good a place as ever to find good samples of imagery.
Take a look at the following example and see if you can better understand its use of imagery:
On a starry winter night in Portugal
Where the ocean kissed the southern shore
There a dream I never thought would come to pass
Came and went like time spent through an hourglass
-Teena Marie, “Portuguese Love”
The sample above was taken from soul songstress of the 1980s, Teena Marie’s hit love song. Did you notice how descriptive the lyrics are? In this sample alone, the imagery is increasingly apparent to the reader. Even though this is a portion of the lyrics from a song, if you read it, you can almost feel the sand of the beach beneath your feet.
Here is another example of imagery in music:
She wears a long fur coat of mink
Even in the summertime
Everybody knows from the coy little wink
The girl's got a lot on her mind
She's got big thoughts, big dreams
And a big brown Mercedes sedan
What I think this girl, she really wants
Is to be in love with a man-Sheila E., “Glamorous Life”
In this illustration, the imagery gains momentum with each line. It starts out slow, yet always building momentum through its vivid description of the mystery girl in the “long fur coat of mink.”
Now consider a famous poem that contains beautiful imagery, "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth. As you read through the poem, he paints a wonderful picture of daffodils such that you can almost picture them in the breeze:
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way
Imagery in a Single Sentence
While poems and songs can paint a vivid picture since they are longer mediums, imagery can be found in just a single sentence as well. Consider the following descriptive sentences:
- He fumed and charged like an angry bull.
- He fell down like an old tree falling down in a storm.
- He felt like the flowers were waving him a hello.
- The eerie silence was shattered by her scream.
- He could hear his world crashing down when he heard the news about her.
- The F-16 swooped down like an eagle after its prey.
- The word spread like leaves in a storm.
- The lake was left shivering by the touch of morning wind.
- Her face blossomed when she caught a glance of him.
- He could never escape from the iron grip of desire.
- He could hear the footsteps of doom nearing.
- She was like a breath of fresh air infusing life back into him.
- The pot was a red as a tongue after eating a cherry flavored ring pop.
- Though I was on the sheer face of a mountain, the feeling of swinging through the air was euphoric, almost like flying without wings.
- Her blue eyes were as bright as the Sun, blue as the sky, but soft as silk.
- The music coursed through us, shaking our bodies as if it came from within us.
- The giant tree was ablaze with the orange, red, and yellow leaves that were beginning to make their descent to the ground.
Paint a Picture
If you ever find yourself wondering where you can find good imagery examples, you can turn on some music or pull out a book or magazine, and you will find many examples.
Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.comments powered by
Examples of Imagery
By YourDictionaryWhen writing descriptive poetry it becomes increasingly necessary to review exactly what imagery is and its innate relevance to poetry as an art form.
DIDLS is a strategy for analyzing tone. It usually applies to a written or oral text. . It’s an acronym that stands for diction, imagery, details, language and structure.
To begin your analysis, it helps to have a basic understanding of what tone is.
Tone is the speaker’s attitude. It is the emotion that the author uses to communicate about the subject. The tone shows meaning that goes beyond the words in the story.
From there, you can move on to analyzing the different elements that make up tone
D- Consider the Diction
Diction is the word choice that an author uses. It refers to the specific phrasing and vocabulary in a text. The word choice conveys a particular connotation in order to persuade audiences.
Questions to ask about Diction
- What words does the author choose?
- Why does the author choose these specific words?
- What are the connotations associated with that choice?
I- Examine the Imagery
Imagery is the use of vivid descriptions and figures of speech. Imagery provides mental pictures of things mentioned in the text. The author uses imagery to appeal to the audiences’ senses.
Questions to ask about Imagery
- What images does the author use?
- What senses does the author appeal to?
- What does the author’s use of images tell you about his/her writing style?
D- Identify the Details
Details are the facts that are included in the text. They make up the information that is included in or excluded from a text. Details help to shape perspective and purpose of the text.
Questions to ask about Details
- What facts does the author include?
- What facts does the author exclude?
- Why does the author include or exclude these details?
L- Describe the Language
Language is the overall use of words. It is the characteristics of the text as a whole, not just pieces of diction used. Language includes consideration of an overall theme within the words of a text, such as use of jargon or formal language.
Questions to ask about Language
- What is the overall impression of the language the author uses?
- Does the language reflect a certain level of education or a particular profession?
- What style does the language convey?
S- Evaluate the Structure
Structure refers to the format that the author uses. Structure refers to overall organizational format and syntax (sentence-level organizational format). The way that a text is structured can influence the audience’s attitudes .
Questions to ask about Structure
- How is the format of the text organized?
- How are the sentences written?
- What impression does the structure give?
This is our third infographic in a series about strategies for analysis. See the other graphics in this series here:
The OPTIC Strategy for Visual Analysis
The SOAPSTone Strategy for Written Analysis