Consider Naomi Shihab's words to gain the complete picture of how imagery works, particularly in poetry. Like metaphor, irony, simile, and other poetic devices, imagery is a vital tool for expanding the meaning of words beyond the limitations of the alphabet. Images can add life to a poem, giving it color and movement that would otherwise be absent from plain language. Indeed, without images there would be no poetry at all.
The poet William Blake is often quoted as saying, "If the fool could reason, he would be dangerous." Blake was pointing out that although logic is useful, it can also get us into trouble if we rely on it instead of experience. The same can be said of imagination. While it is good to use our imaginations when writing poems, we should never let it lead us astray.
Imagery plays an important role in poetry because it allows us to express ideas and feelings that wouldn't be possible with just words alone. For example, one cannot say exactly what it feels like to sit on a cloud or taste honey from a flower's stamen. However, through imagery, these sensations can be conveyed to the reader. Imagery also adds life to a poem by making it more colorful and appealing, which tends to make readers want to read on.
Poets, novelists, and other authors utilize imagery to generate images in the minds of their readers. Imagery employs figurative and metaphorical language to enhance the reader's sensory experience. Images are used extensively in poetry and prose. They can be as simple as a picture of a bird to indicate someone who is a bit crazy or as complex as a three-dimensional model to show how something works.
Images can also be implied rather than stated explicitly. For example, when reading about a battle scene, we know that bombs were dropped on World War II ships because we see pictures of destroyed buildings. However, since these events happened long before digital photography, there was no need to specify what kind of weapon was used.
Another way images are used in literature are allusions. An allusion is when one story or event is mentioned but another is meant. For example, when Huckleberry Finn says "You better not go down to New Orleans," this is an allusion to the famous song by Mark Twain. He is saying that you should not go there because it is dangerous!
Last, but not least, images can also be metaphors. A metaphor is when one thing is compared to another thing with which it has nothing to do.
Imagery, more than other types of figurative language, aids poetry in appealing to the senses by describing live or inanimate objects. As a result, imagery is one of the most effective techniques to construct a poetry that speaks to the writer. The poet can use descriptive language to evoke images in the reader's mind and thereby create a connection with him/her.
Images are comprised of concrete or abstract elements that produce specific responses in the brain's sensory system. When reading a poem, the senses work together to perceive the various images used by the poet. These images may be visual (such as in a picture book) or auditory (like music). The poet can also use the sense of smell to describe an object or scene. Olfactory images are usually less concrete than visual or auditory images because they require readers to infer what it is like to smell something.
By using words that invoke specific sensations, poets can make readers feel like they are experiencing certain events or characters. This ability to capture the reader's attention through the use of his/her senses is why many people say that poetry is the most powerful form of communication.
Imagery is the use of words to provide readers with a visual image. The reader can envision the concepts or thoughts expressed in the book by using imagery. Poets and writers utilize this to create an atmosphere, so that readers are interested in reading the poetry or books, and so on. Images used for this purpose can be real or imagined. For example, when discussing death, poets may use images such as "mourning black" to describe how a person appears after losing their hair due to illness or old age. These types of images help readers understand the feeling that comes with death, which may not be apparent from just reading the words.
In "The Road Not Taken", Robert Frost uses imagery to create a melancholy tone throughout the poem. He starts out by describing two paths ahead of him, both leading into the woods. Then he states that he took the one less traveled by, meaning that he chose not to take the path behind the house. By choosing the less-traveled path, he says he could feel the wind blow through the trees and hear the birds singing in the distance. This shows that even though he knew it was a dead end, he still wanted to go for a walk. Later on in the poem, he imagines what would have happened if he took the other path.