Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)
I distinctly remember struggling with E.E. Cummings’ experimental poetry in school – i carry your heart (probably still his most popular poem) presented no challenge, but much of the rest of his work seemed so strange: it was my first introduction to abstract poetry. I also remember that when I finally read anyone lived in a pretty how town, this was the moment I felt like I “got it.” Oh, that’s what he’s doing, I said to myself with a sigh of relief (for my grade in the class). No longer under the threat of a term paper, I have since come to truly appreciate Mr. Cummings’ experiments with language. But anyone lived in a pretty how town is still my entry point to his work and experimental methods. If you would like to read the whole poem, click here (there is also an audio file of Mr. Cummings reading the poem!). Collage (mixed media on newsprint and digital) by me.
E.E. Cummings’ outspoken and often contrarian political views got him into trouble on several occasions during his life – he was even accused of being a spy in France during WWI. His love poetry has had enduring popular appeal – I personally have been to two weddings where his poem [I carry your heart] has been read – but his satirical and political poetry, while perhaps lesser known, make up another major theme in his work. This epigram is a small salty taste of it – and no matter your political persuasion, it is perhaps a feeling we have all had at one point! Drawing (ink on paper) and composition by me. Have a great weekend!
“!blac” by E.E. Cummings is a very short poem that takes a bit of “activation energy” to read the first time – but it rewards your hard work. In my research on the poem, I found several sources that pointed out its haiku-like qualities: from the vertical composition akin to Japanese scrolls to the three “periods” or lines you get if you render it horizontally. It is yet another dimension to this so visual of poems. Drawing (ink on paper) and composition by me – inspired by an original design by Emily Grossman. Have a great weekend!