The relationship between poetry and images is a very important issue for those who want to write good poetry. It is essential for the poet to be able to create powerful images into the minds of his readers. Henri Delacroix considers that poetic pleasure is first of all a music-related pleasure. But by the power of its discourse, poetry contains also some logical and plastic elements because of which it is more inclined towards visual arts than to music.
Poetry can be defined as a mental, intellectual, emotional and musical language. It can be found somewhere at the middle point between music and intellectual language; for certain poets and certain epochs, poetry was nothing more than a game of audio forms. In some cases, poetry is very close to lose the intellectual element of the poetic discourse. In other cases, poetry is a display of pictures and visual elements put into words. Because of all these means of creation, Hegel went so far as to consider poetry to be the supreme art, encompassing and rising above all the other arts. We could say that poetic pleasure is first of all the pleasure of a rhythm by distributing quantities and accents; it is also the pleasure of a musical chain. Most of all, poetry implies the pleasure of pouring meaning into these forms and to include in them a certain logical and emotional significance.
Poetry can also create forms. According to Delacroix, the origins of a poem can be quite similar to the origins of a visual art creation. Thus, from time to time, poetry can bring forth powerful, precise, evanescent images, as well as something that seems to be the illustration or the written version of some stable, clear paintings. In poetry-generated pleasure, we can find a sort of musical vision and visual audition. The fact that a certain image is to be found on a page written by a poet, does not mean that it also exists for the reader of that poetic piece. And the author can indeed use images without evoking something, just for describing certain aspects of the real world. Poetic simile is not a copy of reality. It is only a subtle allusion to a real-life element. Or so it ought to be. Delacroix says that the more we intellectualize our perception of poetry, the more we try to "translate" our perception of poetry into clear and distinct imageries, the more we deprive its central core of its true intentions and meanings.
There are latent images. There also are plastic images and diffluent images, as there are several degrees of the images' emotional and intellectual tension. Poetry often contains some sort of force of diffuse evoking which can create no clear images, but rather some kind of vague nebulosity.
The more musical the image evoked by poetry is, the stronger gets the aesthetic pleasure sensed by the readers. From the chaos of images to the well-organized suite of images there is a series of intermediary stages. Images can be created out of meanings or out of the representation of things. They can also be inspired by the verbal music or by the emotional value of words. More often, poetry does not deal with an entire image, but with the fragment of an image. There can be a synthetic fragment that symbolizes and represents a very complex picture, with an entire significance and emotional charge.
Many images that seem at first indifferent, accidental, can turn out to be charged with symbols and hidden meanings. Image can burrow its character and value from the verbal music, as well as from meaning and placement. Thus, images can get a life of their own. Through it, the individual can escape from the poetic circle to some more personal, freer visions, towards some kind of vague, eerie state of mind. This is the power of the poetry's imageries.
In the human imagination's effort to create pieces of art in general and poetry in particular, the intrinsic beauty of images is entwined with the subtle connection between images and the phonetic elements. This connection can turn into a powerful mixture that can create aesthetic, emotional and intellectual pleasure to the minds of the readers.