How could the poet E E Cummins attain fame with deliberate punct, spelling, and grammar errors?
Because in poetry none of those things are important, the important thing is making the poem scan.
His mind is on a greater path which is perception and story telling, it's common for these folk to not dwell on the little things, thanks for the question,D.
Because his Poetic License had "Exempt" stamped over the grammar requirements.
Cummings is one of the best examples in modern poetry of someone who deliberately subverted convention in order to foreground the importance of the dialectic between content and form, and by extension, the relative nature of language. He was part of a movement of post war poets whose work served to demonstrate the cataclysmic shattering of categories which led to modernism. Stated more simply, the horrors of war in the twentieth century led to a pressing need to reconsider everything in a society whose structures had led to such wide scale destruction. This re-evaluation and revolt is evident throughout the arts in movements such as the Dada and Surrealist schools of art. It wasn't only punctuation that Cummings deliberately misused in order to explore this dialectic, he was also a great experimenter with language itself, using nouns as verbs and vice versa. He was able to manipulate language in such a skillful way that he demonstrated that the formal rigors of traditional poetry were staid and hackneyed and needed to be shaken up. Thus a poem such as "Anyone lived in a pretty how town" will not necessarily yield meaning from just a precursory reading. The emotional content of this piece is much more subtle, and demands that the reader look at what the words are doing in relation to each other. I would say this poem is an example of the poststructuralist concentration on the relational nature of language. Meaning is not gleaned so much from how the words on the page read as it is from the spaces between words and even the things left unsaid. One of the ways of getting at this space is to abandon punctuation and to leave out capital letters. It is visually, psychologically and even linguistically disruptive for the reader and forces them to look more closely at the writing. I would say that his 'fame' came from the fact that he took this bold step of shying away from traditional forms, but this gamble paid off. His poetry is some of the best among twentieth century American writers. His style was a bold and fresh approach and is, in my opinion, some of the best free verse ever written.
Some people will do anything to get attention. What will his reputation be in 50 or a 100 years? A truly great poet, or a once upon a time eccentric?
Just as in fine art, when you know the rules you can bend or break them to fabulous effect. Some artist discard perspective, but there is still balance and shifting lines that carry the eye to the subject. So it is with words. Words in poetry with no punctuation must provide the flow of meaning to stopping points of perception successively. The wordage in it self becomes the punctuation. The more you understand punctuation the easier it is to leave it off. In art there is always a horizon line even if it is not represented on the canvas.
I thought those "errors" were the point of ee cummings' work. I won't pretend that I understand them, but the poems are very moving. At least they are if you take the time to read them.
Say, how can something deliberately done be considered an error?
Poetic License of course! It has long been my theory that poets spend a great deal of time leaning all of the rules and regulations of proper grammar, punctuation and spelling so that they will know the particulars of the rules they are breaking. (Myself included!)
I think in his time period, this was considered something more radical than it would be today. Now, everyone is trying to find a way to stand out. Just look at all of non-traditional names that celebrities are giving their babies.
I think he attained fame not only because of his non-traditional use of punctuation, but also because of the quality of his work. His rejection of what we might consider traditional uses of punctuation, spelling, and grammer demonstrate a sort of rebelliousness. What might be traditional punctuation to one person, might be a stultifying use of language for another. A poet presents thoughts and sentiments in a distilled form, so to be bound by rules of language use would be to hobble one's self. Why deny yourself the freedom to play with language, sound, tempo, and more? That's why I love poetry!
My favorite poem of his will always be "anyone lived in a pretty how town." The musicality and rhythm of that poem stands out and makes me wonder how long it took to compose.
Because e e cummins used the punctuation marks, the way his sentences were spread out, his own way of spelling, to create his sounds, story, stresses and strains poems; his entire style of 'writing' (or typing) was to make his poetry quite wonderfully unique. You have to know how to build a house to take it down. You have to know how to write to dismantle sentences.
A great writer has a great 'voice', has original style and a true to himself/herself integrity. He is my favorite poet.
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