e e cummings

e e c
e e c lived in a world of his own
with up so tripping tiny mind blown
the oddest verses you ever heared
naff twee pseud weird

noone knew what a single line meant
printing into but many reams went
he must have written them just for a laff
pseud weird twee naff

grammatically he was just plain nuts 
he iffed his nouns and he verbed his buts
such habits should be roundly booed
weird twee naff pseud

now e e c's written his last strange ode
in mind round whirling multiplex code
here's the opinion you'll get from me
naff pseud weird twee

edward estlin cummings (1894-1962) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at an early age was diagnosed as profoundly allergic to capital letters. His poems tended to have unorthodox and imaginative approaches to punctuation, syntax, layout, and anything else he could think of changing. Most of them are untitled, and published in books called 93 poems, 67 poems, and so on. They're good. The one in all the school poetry anthologies - on the eastern side of the pond, at any rate - begins "anyone lived in a pretty how town/ with up so floating many bells down". His love poems should carry a government chastity warning.

He was also a painter, and wrote a masterpiece of a novel The Enormous Room about his experiences as a POW.

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Bob Newman 2004. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 26/11/2004