Tuesday, 5 February 2013

selected poems of e. e. cummings

e. e. commings poetry is possibly not everyone's cup of tea, and his odd use of punctuation and even odder syntax certainly mean that he isn't the easiest poet. I find some of his poems incredibly irritating but at his best, he wrote amazingly beautiful poems. This small selection of his work (selected by the poet from his work between 1923 - 58) includes some wonderful poetry, including a lot of poems about Spring.

Most of these poems don't have titles, which makes quoting from them more difficult, but this is from p7 and probably illustrates equally both the wonder and irritation of his work:

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of  Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look


and this, from p 67 is, even if it might not make the strictest sense, just full of the joy of Spring:

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

e. e. cummings is considered one of the most innovative poets in the English language and is well worth reading. He experimented with great verve, though he also wrote a surprising amount of formal verse (though mostly formal verse with a good few twists to it) as here from p84:

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting when)


Formal or experimental, his poetry always buzzes with the joy of language and the joy of nature.

e. e. cummings: selected poems 1923 - 1958 published by Faber and Faber

6 comments:

Greenpatches said...

Thanks for this review CGP. I think I may revisit his works sometime soon.

Gillena Cox said...

will read more of Cummings


much love...

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I need to familiarize myself with more of Cumming's work. Thank you for sparking my interest.

Liza Lee Miller said...

e.e. cummings has been one of my favorites since I was like 12 years old. I still see so much in his work and love the freedom it offers. What I love about poetry as a writer (and a reader) is the variety -- you can have super rigid rules or you can have wild, crazy, rulebending poetry and they are both amazing and wonderful. Thanks for injecting a little e.e. in my day! "Sweet spring is your time is my time is our time for spring time is love time and viva sweet love."

Bill said...

cummings (he avoided upper case) can be a baleful influence but a joyous inspiration. He reminds us of the essential truth that poetry is doing things with words.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Splendid lines...I have always felt he is the poet who produces images and words and speculation with a force of their own, flowing on the page at their own will.
This flowing is enhanced by the absence of capital letters and titles and real punctuation, the sense of freedom in their absence is in itself an achievement.