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Flint, F. S. (1885-1960)
by Scholes, Robert


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F. S. (Frank Stuart) Flint 1885-1960

Flint was born into a poor family in London and attended common school until he was thirteen, at which point he passed an examination that allowed him to leave school and start working. He did odd jobs for some years until, at the age of nineteen, he entered the civil service as a typist. By then he had discovered the poetry of Keats, which inspired him to start writing his own poems. Flint also began studying at a workingmen’s night school, learning Latin and French, and discovered that he had an exceptional talent for languages. He began publishing poems in The New Age in 1907, becoming a book reviewer (mainly of poetry) in 1908. His first book of poems, In the Net of the Stars, was published by Elkin Mathews in 1909.

In that year he met T. E. Hulme, a young philosopher who had been leading a "Poet’s Club," and the two young men began meeting at a Soho restaurant on Thursday evenings, along with some other people interested in poetry, including Edward Storer and Florence Farr. As Flint put it later, in an article in The Egoist (May 1, 1915), “There was a lot of talk and practice among us, Storer leading it chiefly, of what we called the Image.” Ezra Pound joined the group in April of 1909, and some years later this talk of images led to his coining the term "Imagistes" for “the descendants of the forgotten school of 1909”—and what we now know as Imagism was born. The Imagist poets included Hulme, Flint, Pound, H. D., Richard Aldington, John Gould Fletcher, Amy Lowell, and occasionally D. H. Lawrence. Pound, of course, moved on to Vorticism, and then went his own way, but Flint, Aldington, and H. D. remained Imagists for some years, and Amy Lowell took over the movement, funding several Imagist anthologies.

Flint published his work in The English Review, The Poetry Review, The New Age (over thirty times), Poetry, The Egoist and Coterie, among other journals. And he published several books of poems and translations. He became the leading interpreter of French poetry in England during the first decades of the twentieth century. He and Richard Aldington remained close friends for years. Flint rose gradually in the civil service to the point where he did not need an income from writing, and he wrote very little in the last decades of his life.

References

  • Copp, Michael. Imagist Dialogues: Letters between Aldington, Flint, and Others. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2009.
  • Hughes, Glenn. Imagism and the Imagists. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1931.
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