Modernism is based on the principles of being “modern”. It focuses on individualism and questions absolute truths. The poem At Baia by H.D. is a very good example of modernism. Hilda Doolittle's life influenced her writing and she is a Modernist, as well as an Imagist.

In the poem, At Baia by H.D., the reader senses that the poet is exploring the reader's mind with her bold style. H. D., whose name is Hilda Doolittle, was interested in the Imagist Movement and eventually became one of its leaders. Imagist means creating mental pictures frozen in time. She also displayed strong feminist ideals. “Hilda Doolittle relates the beauty of love with that of flowers. Any reader of this piece can relate themselves to the feelings expressed through the speaker" (Hagen). At Baia is a great poem in which the reader can relate and create a picture in the mind of what the poem is portraying.

She experiments with the readers imagination so that the reader can visualize a "great sheath of orchids" piled up with the fragrance of the flowers building up in the sense of smell. Her dream is to touch her beloved.
Why was it that your hands
(that never took mine),
your hands that I could see” (Doolittle).

This poem focuses on love, but it also shows the lack of love. The love that the speaker has and the love that she seems to need is what makes this poem realistic. The reader can relate to the speaker.

H.D. has her own style of writing. “The structure of the poem is also a key tool for the reader. The beginning of the poem has two stanzas set up in the same fashion, in the middle of the poem the reader detects a change and then the end of the poem, short, sweet and to the point, solidifies the meanings of the poem in its entirety” (Hagen). This work shows the aspects of Modernism. In the past, poets had to adhere to certain forms, styles, and subject matter. With world wars, industrialization, women's rights, civil rights and American progress in general, writers wanted to express themselves in their own unique way. H.D. definitely expressed her own unique ways in her poetry, which is a key component in modernism.


Hilda Doolittle's life affected her poetry in many ways. H.D. was married a few times during her lifetime. Her different loves throughout her life influenced some of her works. Her novel “Bid Me To Live” was written during the time when she and her husband, D. H. Lawrence, were having tough times during their marriage. (“H.D., A Brief). Having many different lovers throughout her life definitely affected her poetry. Many of her poems focus on the up and downs of love. Doolittle's personal experiences are portrayed in her poetry, and this is why the reader feels such a great connection to her poetry.

World War I and II both affected Hilda Doolittle's works. “The years during World War II were very productive for H.D., in contrast to her experience of World War I. She and Bryher lived together during this time, and Bryher published "Life and Letters Today," having bought enough paper to last through the war” (“H.D., A Brief). The World Wars were very impacting times, which affected the writings of Hilda Doolittle, along with many other authors of that time.

Not all of Hilda Doolittle's poetry is about love. Her poems differ in theme, style, and character. Her poetry can sometimes be hard to understand. “Mythological and biblical allusions are common in her poetry” ("H.D. (Hilda). Doolittle's style changes as she grows older. As a teenager, she wrote as an Imagist. Then when she is older, she is writing more as an epic poet. Her theme differs in her poetry. In At Baia she writes of love, but some of her other poems are about her stance on being a woman, the world wars, violence, peace, and many other things. (H.D. (Hilda).

At Baia also differs from the themes and styles of works by different authors, such as Robinson Jeffers and E.B. White. Robinson Jeffers' Shine, Perishing Republic is about the United States and how it is “perishing”. E.B. White's The Second Tree From the Corner is about a man consulting a psychiatrist and how the man realizes he must see past imperfections. At Baia is a love story, and it is not similar in theme to either of these poems. At Baia and Shine, Perishing Republic are similar in style because they are both poems, but both the authors have different writing styles. The Second Tree From the Corner is different from these two works because it is a short story.


Overall, At Baia is a beautiful love poem that is a great example of Modernism in literature. Hilda Doolittle shows her unique ways of writing in this poem. Doolittle's love life and the world war impacted her life and her writings. This poem differs from the other works of this author, and the works of other authors, such as Robinson Jeffers and E.B. White.


Hagen, Nolan. “AP English - Nolan Hagen." Home - Chiz Web. Web. 03 May 2010.

Doolittle. "At Baia by Hilda Doolittle." PoemHunter.Com - Thousands of Poems

"H.D., A Brief Biography." Imagists : H.D. and Aldington. Web. 03 May 2010. <http://www.imagists.org/hd/bio.html>.

"H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961)." Georgetown University: Web Hosting. Web. 03 May 2010. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/bassr/heath/syllabuild/iguide/doolittl.html.