I discovered e.e. cummings at a very young age, much younger than I was probably ready to understand or appreciate him. It was a rebel time in the 70s and his unconventional formatting appealed to me. So much so that I appropriated the style for my own poems for a while. (Probably longer than I should have.)
nobody loses all the time
i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like
Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle
Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when
my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner
or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
and started a worm farm)
e. e. cummings
(((((((((((YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU!!!!!)))))))))
“we all cried like the Missouri”
So very lovely.
He surely had a unique way of looking at life.
Hah! I think any of us who discovered e.e. cummings in high school immediately felt we HAD TO adapt his poetic stylings — and I, too, did it for far longer than I ought to have! His poems are so unusual, though — I could never have imitated that. Thanks for sharing!
we had a cummings poem in our wedding. hardly anyone’s as sensual in so spare a frame…
I’m not sure there’s any other poet who could’ve written “my Uncle Sol imitated the skunks in a subtle manner” and have it be utterly sane. That’s what I love about him.
cummings is still one of my all-time favorite poets. He is responsible for my lower case emails and signature. I don’t plan to change that any time soon :).
I loved this guy’s work!!!
This is what I put in my high school yearbook on the page where you were supposed to brag about all your accomplishments:
(yeah, it was the 70’s, and yeah, this was the extent of my anti-establishment rebellion)
To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else…
Thanks for the great selection!
No one punches a line
quite like e. e. cummings.
Re: Thanks for the great selection!
I think John said that just exactly right.