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

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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 through his unusual placement of words on the page, as well as, his lack of punctuation and capitalization. The manner in which Cummings arranges the words of his poems creates an image in the reader's mind of the topic he is discussing, such as a season or climbing stairs. His visual style also brings emotions, such as loneliness or cheerfulness, to the reader's mind. Due to this creativity, Cummings won many awards, such as the National Book Award and the Bollingen Prize in poetry (Marks 17).

In his poem "l(a", the words are arranged in such a way that they are falling down the page. He only puts several letters of each word on a line and then continues to spell the word down the page. The main focus of the poem is about loneliness and the words almost appear to be "lonely." He uses parentheses around the phrase "a leaf falls," which appears in the middle of the poem. The remaining letters in the poem spell "loneliness." When these are placed together in the same poem, it creates an effect that there is a leaf falling from a tree to the ground where it will be lonely because it will be separated from the tree. Cummings emphasizes the image of being alone or aloof by using two versions of the word one. On the first line, he uses the letter "l," which also looks like the number "1." On ...

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...number of visual effects in his poetry. He combined the lack of punctuation, capitalization, and creative spacing with his topics, such as the seasons, to convey his messages. Some readers find the visual effects in his poems disconcerting and feel that they are meaningless because of it. However, others find his visual effects helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of his poems and the messages he was trying to convey. Cummings' poems were definitely meant to be viewed rather than simply listened to so that the reader can benefit from the full effect of them. His poetry does not follow traditional rules and is very unpredictable. As a result, they leave more room for your imagination to soar.

Works Cited:

Cummings, E. E. Poems 1923 ‚ 1954. New York : Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1926.

Marks, Barry A. E. E. Cummings. New York : Twayne Publishers, Inc, 1964.

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