Visions and Ecstasies: Selected Essays
By H.D. Introduction by Michael Green
H.D.’s writing continues to inspire generations of readers. Bringing together a number of never-before-published essays, this new collection of H.D.’s writings introduces her compelling perspectives on art, myth, and the creative process.
While she is best known for her elemental poetry, which draws heavily on the imagery of natural and ancient worlds, H.D.’s critical writings remain a largely underexplored and unpublished part of her oeuvre. Crucial to understanding both the formative contexts surrounding her departure from Imagism following World War I and her own remarkable creative vision, Notes on Thought and Vision, written in 1918, is one of the central works in this collection. H.D. guides her reader to the untamed shores of the Isles of Scilly, where we hear of powerful, transformative experiences and of her intense relationship with the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. The accompanying essays, many published here for the first time, help color H.D.’s astute critical engagement with the past, from the city of Athens and the poetry of ancient Greece. Like Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Painter (2017), also published in the ekphrasis series, this collection is essential reading for anyone interested in the creative process.
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Contributors: H.D., Michael Green
Designer: Michael Dyer, Remake
Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 4 ¼ × 7 in | 10.8 × 17.8 cm
Reproductions: 1 b&w
Retail: $15 | £12
Dedicated to publishing rare, out-of-print, and newly commissioned texts as accessible paperback volumes the ekphrasis series is part of David Zwirner Books’s ongoing effort to publish new and surprising pieces of writing on visual culture.
Born Hilda Doolittle, H.d. (1886–1961) was an American poet and novelist associated with Imagism, an avant-garde literary movement that emerged in London during the early twentieth century. Her first and perhaps best- known collection of poetry, Sea Garden (1916), exemplifies the precise imagery and sharp language favored by Imagism and her contemporaries Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. H.D.’s writing was often deeply personal, merging her unstable private life, marred as it was by frequent illness and loss, with the evocative images and stories of the ancient world. Together with her companion Bryher, she traveled throughout Europe, in particular to Greece, and to Egypt, sites that would continue to inspire her late into her life and have a profound impact on her final poems, such as the revisionary epic Helen in Egypt (1961). Though somewhat overshadowed by her male contemporaries in historical and critical ac- counts of modernist movements, H.D. is one of the most important and inimitable writers of her time.
Michael Green is a Wolfson Scholar and PhD candidate in the Department of History of Art at University College London. He works within the intersections of art, literature, and psychoanalysis, and his current research engages with how H.D.’s writings have been used in contemporary art practices from the 1970s to the present.