Various Works of EE CummingsEdward Estlin Cummings, famously known as E.
E. Cummings, had a very unique way of writing his poetry. The way his poems were written are what many critics admire most. He brushed aside the rules of English and allowed his art to shine through. He lived from 1894 to the year 1962. He has written hundreds of poems in his career.
Many of his poems are hard to understand or translate. They have to be meticulously dissected to understand their true or hidden meaning. Many of his poems look like garbled gibberish at a glance, but under close inspection are works of a true poet.
One of the most famous poems of E. E. Cummings is “l(a”. Since he always had a unique way of writing, he also rarely had a title for his poems, thus, the first line would represent his title. In the following poem, one may wonder what is being said.”l(aleaffalls)oneliness” (Cummings 1)For the inexperienced reader, this poem would look like meaningless letters put together in a non-sentence structure.
When this poem is looked at from a puzzle point of view, one begins to put his puzzle together. When read appropriately, the poem then reads “a leaf falls in loneliness.” His style was an unbelievable break through in poetry for his time, and still is today. The originality of E. E.
Cummings’s poems has been surpassed by few and possibly by no other poets. He has written many poems that have the same structure as “l(a”. “In his work, Cummings experimented radically with form, punctuation, spelling and syntax, abandoning traditional techniques and structures to create a new, highly idiosyncratic means of poetic expression. Later in his career, he was often criticized for settling into his signature style and not pressing his work towards further evolution. Nevertheless, he attained great popularity, especially among young readers, for the simplicity of his language, his playful mode and his attention to subjects such as war and sex.
At the time of his death in 1962, he was the second most widely read poet in the United States, after Robert Frost.” (Navasky 1)One would have to agree with the person who wrote the previous statement. The way E. E. Cummings wrote his poetry would grab one’s interest the moment he/she lays eyes upon Cummings’s work. His work may have appealed to a younger audience in the past, but now his poems are cherished by millions.
E. E. Cummings and Robert Frost were both very famous during the time of Cummings’s writing. One may believe that they both had great works, but E.
E. Cummings opened a door to poetry that had rarely been explored before.In the following E. E. Cummings’ poem, “insu nli ght”, one will see that his words form a window to possibly emphasize his imagination and talent that he has for the poetry he writes.”insu nli ght overand overingAonceupona time ne wsp aper” (Cummings 24)This could be a poem about how a newspaper lays in front of a window over time, and the sun passes over it many times.
As in his other poems, one may wonder what E. E. Cummings is trying to get across when writing his poetry. One may think that his poetry is purely for pleasure, another may think that his poems have a deeper meaning. Not all of his poems are written like the two previously mentioned. Many are in a more modern style, yet all are in lowercase letters.
In the following poem, the way that it is written shows another aspect of E. E. Cummings’s remarkable talent for poetry.
“nOthIng cansurPassthe mySteRyofstilLness” (Cummings 42)In this poem, E. E. Cummings has a unique way of having the words sandwiched between the same letters. One may wonder how E. E.
Cummings can manage to break away from traditional poetry, and still have a surprise waiting around every corner. Many of E. E.
Cummings’s poems do not have a rhyme scheme to them. This may be another one of his signature characteristics that makes him so popular.In the poem “one”, one may picture a snowflake floating through the air both in their mind and on the page.”onethissnowflake(a li ght ing)is upon a gravestone” (Cummings 61)E. E.
Cummings has a great way of allowing the reader to visualize his writings, allowing the reader to fill in the pages with color and motion. In the poem above, the way the letters zig and zag, remind one of snow falling on a cold winter day. Many of his poems are about nature and human nature. The topics of his poems range as drastically as his way of writing. Not only was E. E. Cummings a famed and talented writer, he was also a painter.
He painted many pictures while he was writing, and thought of himself as a painter just as much as he was a writer. Most of his paintings were done with oil and canvas. Even though he was both a writer and a painter, he is most well known for his writings.Few words can be said that express the talent that E. E. Cummings had. He is ranked with the great poets such as Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson.
No other poets have been able to surpass the originality of E. E. Cummings. When one thinks of E. E. Cummings, one usually thinks of how he used lowercase letters and how he broke the rules of poetic style that made him famous.
Very few people think of how he changed poetry in one lifetime. This poet was a true genius in the realm of poetry. Was breaking the rules of English what made him famous, or was it the pure whimsical feeling you get when you try to figure out his poetry? In the case of E. E. Cummings, it would have to be both.
Works CitedCummings, E. E. 95 Poems by E. E. Cummings. New York: New York, 1950Cummings, E.
E. 73 Poems. New York: New York, 1961Navasky, Bruno. The Academy of American Poets. 25 May 1997. 15 Mar.