Tuesday, 11 May 2010

for it is Spring!

I've just finished reading 73 poems by e.e.cummings, a collection of, well 73 of his poems. Some of his most pared down poems are irritating and can seem pointless but at its best his poetry is like a fine mind altering drug that makes you see language and reality in different ways. (Not that I use mind altering drugs!). This is a collection that in part overflows with the joy of Spring, as demonstrated by this snippet from poem 63:

o-p-e-n-i-n-g

are(leaves;flowers)dreams

,come quicklycome
run run
with me now
jump shout(laugh
dance cry

sing)for it's Spring

-irrevocably;
and in earth sky trees
every
where a miracle arrives

(yes)


A wonderful shout of joy for the season that seems not to be able to arrive quite properly this year. Reading this collection, I was also struck that some of the weirdness of cummings' writing may be due to him internalising and using the rhythms of other languages, there are certainly passages that made more sense to me if I imagined they were in German. But anyway, a wonderful read if you don't mind working a little.

15 comments:

Googlover said...

cummings! I think I have that book. I have been meaning to read it but have such a love hate relationship with with his work.

Angela Recada said...

What a wonderful snippet! I'll have to start translating his poetry into German, too. One of my favorite things to do during my days at the University (long, long ago), was to translate German poetry into English.
:0)
I had completely forgotten about that. Thanks for reminding me!

Gillena Cox said...

read from Cummings;n this one though is unfimiliar; thanks for sharing

much love
gillena

Glenna said...

I'd forgotten about e.e. in my humdrum life, and that was nice. Even nicer, however, are your photos of the garden, the flowers and best of all, your drawing. You should draw something for us every post!

Eryl Shields said...

I have to say I admire your tenacity. Every now and again I pick up his selected Poems 1923-1958 and read till I can take it no more. Some I instantly love, some make me feel sea sick, but I rarely manage more than about four or five and that might take a whole evening. Afterwards I always feel like I've been in conversation with a very drunk philosopher.

HKatz said...

That little yes in the end - there's so much exultation in it, barely restrained by the parentheses.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I suppose for some he is a bit of an acquired taste, but I've always found him so interesting and unique. Mind you, I haven't immersed myself in his writings the way you have just done. I also love the way he bends and plays with punctuation, making it part of the poem somehow.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Whoa - it was that guy and Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Coney Island of the Mind) that made me realize that poetry is supposed to be quite different from just rhymned narration. (eg..Mary had a little lamb, ..)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Rabbits Guy - I love Ferlinghetti's poetry, wonderful....

Pamela and Esward - I love the way he uses punctuation too

HKatz - it's wonderful isn't it?

Eryl - yes it is a bit like conversation with a drunken philosopher... good description

Glenna - I can only draw rabbits, so it would need to be a rabbit sketch every day - but I know there would be an audience for that!

Gillena - thanks

Angela - thanks - I enjoy translating poetry from German too, its a real challenge!

Googlover - oh do read it, there are some total gems in there!

The Storialist said...

So refreshing and giddy.

Charlotte, Cottontails said...

Have a wonderful time at your launch today, I really wish I lived closer and could come.

I feel silly even saying this but feel I do not 'understand' much poetry. I couldn't really fathom the Cummings poem... oh dear. I've got a bit of paper with an english a-level somewhere but feel like it was a long time ago.

I love your singing bunny by the way :-)

Charlotte
x

Deb G said...

One of e.e. cummings poems was one of the first poems I really fell in love with when I was ten...

Jasmine said...

A joyful poem. You have me curious as to his mind altering poems?

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Robin Rule said...

juliet, I used to get soo impatient with cummings and then i read the biography of kenneth patchen who is one of my all time greats and they were best of friends and I had a new respect for cummings, because if patchen loved him, i would have to give him a chance at maybe liking him. And when mind is open, well, all sorts of stuff floats in like a tiny balloon man and well, Spring! and yr right, there's a lot of his stuff that seems over-worked and not good poetry, but when he hits tha mark, he hits it hard. i like (and i'll have to paraphrase because i can't memorize my kids' s.s.# to save their lives,) "Buddha told him. Confuscious told him, Jesus told him, but it took a really big stick to really tell him.." just cracks me up. My fifth year english teacher gave us that one and it just cracked me up. i started reading cummings like there was no tomorrow while some ididn't like, for the most part, he's one of the best...