The Arts: e.e. cummings

Such playful fun with language. Uploaded to Flickr by ed ed.

Such playful fun with language. Uploaded to Flickr by ed ed.

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

Uploaded to Flickr by brodiemanisu.

Uploaded to Flickr by brodiemanisu.

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

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and
the
goat-footed

balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s