Sunday, October 14, 2007

(happy) birthday (e.e.)

Today is the birthday of a very important figure in American letters.
On this day in 1894, Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
That makes him a cool umm… 113 years old today.
Does he really even need any sort of introduction?
His accomplishments are remarkable. He turned poetry on its head with his inimitable, unconventional style. Although most of his poetry is demanding, as in, one must read and examine and re-read it to truly “get” it, other poems are so simplistic that I recall reading and “getting” them back when I was in elementary school.
Here is an example of one of my favorites.

you shall above all things...

you shall above all things be glad and young

For if you're young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad

whatever's living will yourself become.

Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:

i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man's

flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:

for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave

called progress,and negation's dead undoom.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing

than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

e.e. cummings

For more of my own commentary on the work of e.e. cummings CLICK.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
-- e.e. cummings


Beth said...

Yes, what a delight it was to discover e.e.cummings as a child!

(I'm wondering - when do you ever discover who you really are?)

cipriano said...

His stuff is a delight, yes, Beth.

As to your question, I think maybe the discovery never ends.
Or at least, shouldn't.

Merisi said...

... anyone lived in a pretty how town with up so floating many bells down
spring summer autumn winter ...

Thanks for reminding us of this birthday! He's much loved in my family.

Did you know that Maximilian Schell is Austrian? I share my birthday with JFK and Bob Hope. ;-)