Saturday, March 28, 2009

Untitled by E.E. Cummings

Cummings shows us that a good poem can be only four words long.


l(a

le
af
fa
ll

s)
one
l

iness



E.E. Cummings (1894-1962) discovered an original way of describing the chaotic immediacy of sensuous experience. He played games with language and form and put forth a deliberately simplistic view of the world, giving his poems a gleeful and precocious tone. He was born in Cambridge, Mass., attended Harvard and studied Art in Paris.

24 Comments:

Blogger ginger said...

i can't believe i've never seen this before...it's brilliant and i love it. i will admit that it took me a minute to figure it out because of the way it's arranged though. :)

9:15 PM  
Blogger Mjay said...

This is masterly, I love it.
It's short and long at the same time.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Frustrated Poet said...

Good choice. There is an interesting debate about the structure of this poem and whether it's a 1 or an L at http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/1-a-a-leaf-falls-on-loneliness/comments.asp

10:20 AM  
Blogger ginger said...

but if it were a 1 it wouldn't spell lonliness, it would say 1 (a leaf falls) one liness.

perhaps that's why he spelled out the word, one, so fools wouldn't think such things. and who's the mysterious liness? that's silly.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

There was no "one" on standard typewriters at the time. In typing class ages ago I was taught to use the "l" key for both. It may be that cummings left it deliberately ambiguous, subject to a mental overlay of two simultaneous interpretations.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that the the 1 could be both a one and an l at the same time, because one is also alone and is due to that lonely

9:18 PM  
Blogger sudharm baxi said...

That is so very smart!!

Only someone like Cummings could think such stuff.
Mind-boggling..
Thanks a lot for sharing..

8:12 AM  
Blogger Poetgrrl said...

did he have to be so good? *sigh*

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