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 "childish spirit"(140). It was Mark Van Doren, though, who probably said the truth about cummings. "He has a richly sensuous mind; his verse is distinguished by fluidity and weight; he is equipped to range lustily and long among the major passions"(140) Through examples of his work, "from spiralling ecstatically this," Buffalo Bill's," "next to of course god america I," and "whippoorwill this," it can be show that cummings is a deliberate, inventive, and precise poet who uses his own, unique style.
Style throughout cummings work is usually difficult to piece together and the works' meanings are even harder to decipher, but they all conjure the reader to think. Cummings uses an assortment of tools for his style. In "from spiralling ecstatically this" cummings uses imaginative new words and line breaks. Cummings creates the word "unmiracle" in line five. This word implies destruction of what has just taken place, the birth of a baby. "Perhapsless" is another new word, also of pessimistic connotations. Perhaps is a hopeful word, meaning there is a chance, "perhapsless" implies that failure is inevitable and that trying is futile. The line breaks of this poem were meant to emphasize the single lines of the poem. "[F]rom spiralling ecstatically this" suggests that one is going throughout life ...
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cummings, e. e. Complete Poems 1904-1962. Ed. George J. Firmage. New York: Liverright, 1991.
Dilworth, Thomas. "Cummings's 'Buffalo Bill's'." Explicator 53 Spring (1994): 175-176.
Jobe, Don. "Cummings' WHIPPOORWILL THIS." Explicator 42 Fall (1983): 48-49.
Kazin, Alfred. "E. E. Cummings and his Fathers." Contemporary Literacy Criticism. Eds. Dedria Bry Fonski and Phyllis Carmel Mendelson. Vol. I Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1978: 155.
Literature and the Writing Process. Eds. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 1996.
Powers, Kate. "cummings's From Spiralling Ecstatically This." Explicator 49 Summer (1991) : 235-237.
Van Doren, Mark. "First Glance." Contemporary Literacy Criticism. Eds. Dedria Bry Fonski and Phyllis Carmel Mendelson. Vol. XII. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1980: 139-140.
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