e. e. cummings: The Growth of a Writer

e. e. cummings: The Growth of a Writer

e. e. cummings: The Growth of a Writer

e. e. cummings: The Growth of a Writer

Excerpt

First: if I don't use capitals for e. e. cummings, it isn't just a stunt. He had his name put legally-into-lower-case, and in his later books the titles and his name were always in lower case. And I have a weakness for Edmund Wilson's rendition of cummings, in his Finnegans Wake parody, as hee hee cunnings. So be it--all this goes with the iconoclasm of the twenties, with its unpunctuated, uncapitalized poetry. The lower case is a kind of continuing talisman of cummings, though it doesn't embed him in the twenties. He comes through to us as what Norman Friedman, in the present book, calls him: "a serious poet." Mr. Friedman believes that cummings shouldn't be favored or disfavored because of his punctuative and typographical tricks, and he is quite right. In the foregoing I am merely entering the cummings atmosphere. That is merely incidental, however, to the fact that I do favor him.

What else could be one's reaction to the creator of a lyric as nearly perfect as the one beginning, "since feeling is first"?--and there are a few hundred others. One critical canard says that cummings didn't grow as a poet; happily, Mr. Friedman's book, whose subtitle is The Growth of a Writer, is a study of the vision and development of cummings. It takes up the challenge in its very first paragraph and then carefully proceeds to show how cummings did grow.

We wanted a book on cummings in this series. I had read Mr. Friedman on the subject and knew that he was . . .

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