The Poetry Of E.E. Cummings Essay

4111 words - 16 pages

The Poetry of E.E. Cummings

Edward Estlen Cummings engages the intuitiveness of readers of his poetry with precision. A painter as well as poet, Cummings uses words to create vivid and visceral moments of meaning that are the beating heart of Cummings’ poetry.

The form and content of E. E. Cummings’ poetry is driven by and results from his own personal philosophy regarding the transcendent importance of love and individualism over reason and societal norms. The relationships between those central themes are here explored in three of his poems, published within a span of fourteen years, with the main focus being the poem, “anyone lived in a pretty how town”.

Cummings was a critical lightening rod in his day, and remains controversial even among some of today’s critics. He is, however, one of America’s most-read poets (Silea 2; Baum 104). The target of this controversy was less his subject matter than the manner in which he expressed it. To varying degrees at different stages of his life, he deconstructed the English language, breaking grammatical structures into bits and pieces, only to put them back together in new and thought-provoking ways. He did not do this in ignorance, but with keen awareness of the rules upon which he transgressed: “trying to write poetry before you’ve learned all there is to know about writing is like…trying build yourself a house from the ridgepole down;instead of laying the foundations first & then erecting a structure on them, story by story” (Letters 205).

By today’s standards, this flouting of convention may seem quite tame. This would in likelihood not be the case were it not for the ground broken, plowed and sown by Cummings.

One of Cumming’s most familiar poems is “anyone lived in a pretty how town”. The first line (which, is, in general, the manner by which his poems are identified, because they lack any title other than the number by which they were ordered in their original publication) itself is adequate introduction to Cummings’ style. What appears to be a mish-mash of verbs, nouns and adjectives leaves the read with a distinct, visceral experience despite that disorganization (or reorganization). This is not by chance: the meter, decapitalization, and consonance have already worked their magic to convey a pictorial and emotional message. That is the Cummings hallmark: “How” creates “what.

The “how town” in which “anyone” lives seems, by using “how” as an adjective to describe the town, to raise a question; the expectation for the reader is that this will somehow be resolved in the course of the poem. The poem does, in fact raise a question: Why does humanity forget what it means to be human? This theme, common to much of his poetry, revolves around specific tensions.

In form, Cummings’ poetry is a direct reflection of his personal philosophy regarding these tensions. As Friedman writes, “Cummings’ picture of the world is...

Find Another Essay On The Poetry of E.E. Cummings

e.e. cummings: The Life of America's Experimental Poet

1799 words - 7 pages twenty-five books of prose, poetry, charcoal and pencil drawings, plays and stories. He did all this in his sixty-eight years of life. Works Cited Kennedy, Richard S. Dreams in the Mirror, A Biography of E.E. Cummings. Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York. 1980 Lane, Gary. I am, A Study of E.E. Cummings' Poems. University Press of Kansas, Wichita, Kansas. 1976 Poetry Cited my father moved through dooms of love my father moved

The Poetry of E. E. Cummings

1612 words - 6 pages The Poetry of E. E. Cummings Is the of style e. e. cummings' poetry its true genius, or the very reason the works should be called drivel? Alfred Kazin says that the poet's style is "arrogant" and "slap stick" and that cummings is "the duality of the traditionalist and the clown"(155). Others, such as Richard P. Blackmur, say his technique is an insult to the writing profession. He says that cummings' poetry would only appeal to those with a

The Poetry of E. E. Cummings

1332 words - 5 pages had written a letterconcerning !blac to Robert Wenger, author of The Poetry and Prose ofE. E. Cummings (see Works Cited). In it, he wrote, "for me, this poemmeans just what it says . . . and the ! which begins the poem is whatmight be called and emphatic (=very)." This poem is also concerns thecycle of birth, life, death, and renewal. This is derived from the '.'preceding the last letter. This shows that even though the poem isfinished, the circle

My Impressions Of E.E. Cummings Paintings

351 words - 2 pages My impressions about E. E. Cummings` paintings         E. E. Cummings gained tremendous popularity throughout the 20th century. His poetry was widely hailed for its experimental form, typography, grammar and word coinages, as well as for the subtlety and sensitivity of its perceptions and feeling. His non-fiction prose was praised for its bitter wit and for the clarity and forcefulness of its expression, revealing Cummings as an

E.E. Cummings: The Individual and His Work

1363 words - 5 pages Every so often an artist emerges in his field whose ideas are refreshingly different, and breaks the mold set out by society. Such a man was E. E. Cummings. Not only did he break the mold, he shattered it with a monstrous wrecking-ball. " He is known for his idiosyncratic and typographically inventive poetry..."(www.biography.com 1) Cummings firmly believed in his ideas and strived to be an individual in all aspects of life. As he himself said

Analysis of e.e. cummings' since feeling is first

1162 words - 5 pages Analysis of e.e. cummings' since feeling is first   E. E. Cummings' poem "since feeling is first" is a poem which shows how emotions dictate people's actions and why the narrator thinks they should. The poem implies that to follow one's heart is better than following one's mind, yet, at the same time the poem is the narrator's analysis of why emotion comes before thought. The last line of the poem brings a twist on theme that the

STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF E.E. CUMMINGS’ POEM [I CARRY YOUR HEART WITH ME (I CARRY IT IN]

2751 words - 11 pages Sarwar Department of English, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan ABSTRACT In this article, stylistic features are used for the stylistic analysis of E.E Cummings' poem [i carry your heart with me (i carry it in].This analysis is done under the aspects of graphology, syntactical, grammatical, lexical and phonological patterns. This analysis is helpful in understanding the main idea of the poem that is ideal, selfless and profound love. The

An Analysis of E.E. Cummings' Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town

768 words - 3 pages An Analysis of E.E. Cummings' Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town In reading this poem the first time, I had no clue as to what Cummings was speaking of. However, after many times through and several on-line readings, I believe that I have some semblance as to what Cummings was trying to convey in this poem. In reading this poem through on my own the first time, I saw Anyone as any person. However, Anyone is actually an individual, as is

The Poetry of Giovanni

2323 words - 9 pages of her first book of poetry, Black Feeling, Black Talk. She quickly gained popularity for her first collection and followed in the same year with the publication of Black Judgement. The unifying themes of the work are the black struggle and the role she sees for herself as both a participant in and a witness to the historic events of the Civil Rights movement.Giving a glimpse into the childhood of the poet is the poem "Nikki-Rosa," which

The Temperature of poetry

1577 words - 7 pages The Temperature of Poetry Poetry is one of the stranger parts of the literary world. A poem can be anything, from a three-lined poem known as a haiku to a giant epic poem like the “The Odyssey.” They can be rhyming or non-rhyming, long or short, sensible or nonsensical. Even lyrics in songs can be considered poetry, seeing as how they are rhyming and flow so well. The parameters for a poem are wide, the requirements few; but no matter what kind

The Ages Of Poetry

1175 words - 5 pages      The English Romantic poets of the 19th Century had a conception about nature that, over a century later, appears in the poetry of today. These poets have had a significant influence on the attitude and vocabulary a contemporary poet uses. Among the contemporary poets, Dana Gioia, in his two poems, "Becoming a Redwood," and "Rough Country," has drawn on the idea of the innocence and untainted

Similar Essays

The Poetry Of E.E. Cummings Essay

3359 words - 13 pages The Poetry of e.e. cummings The poems to come are for you and for me and are not for most people. --it's no use trying to pretend that mostpeople and ourselves are alike. Mostpeople have less in common with ourselves than the squarerootofminusone. You and I are human beings;mostpeople are snobs. Take the matter of being born. What does being born mean to mostpeople? Catastrophe unmitigated. Socialrevolution. The cultured aristocrat

Modernist Poets E.E. Cummings, Wallace Stevens, And T.S. Eliot Change The Face Of American Poetry

1800 words - 7 pages Modernist Poets E.E. Cummings, Wallace Stevens, and T.S. Eliot Change the Face of American Poetry Modernist poets such as E.E. Cummings, Wallace Stevens, and T.S. Eliot changed the face of American poetry by destroying the notion that American culture is far inferior to European culture. These and other American poets accomplished the feat of defining an American poetic style in the Modern Era by means of a truly American idea. That idea

Visual Effects Created By E.E. Cummings In His Poetry

1131 words - 5 pages Visual Effects Created By E.E. Cummings In His Poetry Edward Estlin Cummings, commonly referred to as E. E. Cummings, was born on October 14, 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a source of vast knowledge and was responsible for many creative works other than his poetry, such as novels, plays, and paintings. He published his first book of poetry Tulips and Chimneys in 1923. Many of his poems are known for the visual effects they create

The Role Of Humanism In The Poems Of E.E. Cummings

2102 words - 8 pages evidenced by this first cursory analysis of this poem. Task 1: A Cursory Analysis “Humanity i love you” makes its first impression with its unconventional use of capitalization, or rather, the distinct lack of, which aids Cummings in his manipulation of emphasis. All words, most recognizably “I”, are in lowercase, as presented in the title of the poem. This is a common fixture of E.E. Cummings’ works, and it has been speculated that such a
Eye Color Changer Real v1.2.1.2 APK Premium | Disclamer / DMCA | Notecards