Introduction to Literature, ENG 102, Spring Semester
Poetry Assingment - e. e. cummings
E. E. Cummings, a twentieth century American writer, violated the conventional rules of standard language usage, experimenting with topography, distorting syntax, rejecting punctuation and capitalization, and creating words to enhance the understanding of his poems. Many of his poems often made use of a different part of speech to act as another in violation of the normal rules of grammar. Cummings' poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as well as the relationship of the individual to the masses and to the world. His poems are also often abundant with satire.
Cummings would often use a very unique device where he would switch the grammatical tense of a word by its use in the sentence formation. This switch might involve treating a noun like a verb or an adjective like a verb, and so on. Cummings might speak of how "he sang his didn't, he danced his did." In the first stanza of "anyone lived in a pretty how town". The poem traces the life of people in an ordinary town. Most Men and Women in this town are conformists who adhere to the passage of life by growing up, placing youth behind them, they marry, "someones married their everyones" and have children who follow the same pattern as their parents. The passage of time is counted in this poem by the seasons and the passage of the sun, moon, stars and rain. This use of repetition of the passage of time allows the reader to see the unrelenting boredom of this "little how town" with "up so many floating bells down'" chiming out their mediocre life. The towns folk are oblivious to their plight as they happy to "sow their isn't" and reap "their same" and they "laugh their cryings". They are hollow and emotionally out of touch as they conform to "sleep, wake, hoe" and work away their life.
Cummings then uses a pronoun as a noun and we meet two in this town who are different and outside the flow of life in an insular "pretty how town". First we greet anyone, who is the eccentric individual in this town, hence the irony of his name. He is emotional as "he sang his didn't he danced his did.". He is joyful in his celebration of existence. Others are concerned with sowing their "isn't" rather than being positive.
Cummings' work shows a particular characteristic of syntax, a different way of arranging individual words into larger phrases and sentences. Many of his poems do not involve any typography or punctuation at all, but aesthetic and enunciated organization. A number of his poems feature a unique style, with words, parts of words, or punctuation symbols scattered across