Edward Estlin Cummings kicked the staid world of poetry in its assonance.
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did
Looking back, it’s easy to criticize some of his experimentation with form as silly, but it broke ground that needed to be broken. His two great themes were nature and love.
Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
Cummings was socially aware, and often quite satirical and caustic. But the feeling you can’t help but walk away from his poetry with is joy, a true joy of living.
children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
In addition to poetry, Cummings wrote novels, plays, and children’s books, and he was a talented painter as well.
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
In lieu of a video tonight, here’s one of my favorite Cummings poems, first shown to me by a girl named Polly during my freshman year in college. Polly, thanks for pointing me toward this wonderful poetic force.
Chansons Innocentes: I
by E. E. Cummings
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and