Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My sweet old aunt etcetera... More on e.e. cummings

I have written before about what an impact the poet e.e.cummings made on me. Perhaps, I can say, he was the first poet whose work I fell in love with. Truly so. Sadly, for me, in my very earliest writing I tried to imitate him and failed miserably.

I'm currently working on a new poetry collection and I generally avoid reading poetry when I'm writing. I once read a great deal of Alfred Lord Tennyson one summer long ago and, Lord God, I spent the next three months writing like a high-Victorian!

So, as I write, I've been revisiting Cummings, not for influence but because his style is so far removed from this new work that there is no possibility of influence. Therefore, I can simply enjoy it!

I found this short piece of documentary footage about e.e.cummings on YouTube and thought to share. Shame it seems to be only the first part of a full-length piece, but you may be able - unlike me - to find the rest if you search hard enough! In any case, it's great that this old archive stuff is available to us now. Here is, then, an introduction to the early years of edward eslin, in his own poems and words. He was truly the most rhapsodic of 20th Century American poets so it is no surprise to learn that Dylan Thomas was a friend and admirer.

To flesh out his life-story more, here is a talk that was given by Cummings' biographer, Susan Cheever. Really the story she presents, particularly regarding that with his daughter, is quite remarkable. The question and answers session that fills the second half is even more informative and more directly addresses his poetic style and content and how it related to his life. Cheever herself is also a very warm and witty companion to guide us all this.

So, here I post all this to try to whet the appetite - as much for me as anyway else - in revisiting more of cumming's poetry. As I said, there is no point in trying to imitate him, but rather just to enjoy his unique work for what it is!

Okay, hope you like these clips. I continue to make my own small efforts in poetry and if the results turn out to be half as good and original as those of old e.e., I would be a very happy poet, indeed!