The Poetry of e.e. cummings

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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 yanked out of his hyperexclusively ultravoluptuous superpalazzo, and dumped into an incredibly vulgar detentioncamp swarming with every conceivable species of undesirable organism. Mostpeople fancy a guaranteed birthproof safetysuit of nondestructible selflessness. If mostpeople were to be born twice theyÍd improbably call it dying.

you and I are not snobs. We can never be born enough. We are human beings;for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery,the mystery of growing:the mystery which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves. You and I wear the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming. Life,for eternal us,is now;and now is much too busy being a little more than everything to seem anything.catastrophic included (Cummings, 1935).

So begins No Thanks, a book of poetry written by the already well-established Edward Estlin Cummings. When most people think of poetry, certain vocabulary comes to mind. Imagery. Rhyme. Meter. Flow. Figurative language. When the poetry of E.E. Cummings is mentioned, these stereotypical poetic techniques are forgotten. Instead, the mind focuses on Cummings' technique of avoiding technique. The lack of capitalization and nonstandard punctuation most likely begin the list of Cummings' nonrules in the minds of many. Sadly, the knowledge of...

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Cummings, E.E. (1966). Collected poems. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.

Fairley, I.R. (1975). E.E. Cummings and ungrammar: A study of syntactic deviance in his poems. New York: Watermill.

Friedman, N. (1960). E.E. Cummings: The art of his poetry. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.

Friedman, N. (1972). E.E. Cummings: A collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Haines, G. (1951). The world and E.E. Cummings. In Friedman, N. (Ed.), E.E. Cummings: A collection of critical essays (pp. 15-30). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Norman, C. (1958). The magic-maker: E.E. Cummings. New York: Macmillan.

Watson, B. (1956). The dangers of security: E.E. Cummings' revolt against the future. In Friedman, N. (Ed.), E.E. Cummings: A collection of critical essays (pp. 31-45). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
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