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A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings

Mark Clark 04 Aug 03 - 07:34 PM
Deckman 04 Aug 03 - 08:22 PM
David Ingerson 04 Aug 03 - 08:39 PM
Amos 05 Aug 03 - 12:10 AM
mack/misophist 05 Aug 03 - 12:13 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Aug 03 - 07:11 AM
Amos 05 Aug 03 - 08:39 AM
Bill D 05 Aug 03 - 09:30 AM
Peter T. 05 Aug 03 - 12:04 PM
Bill D 05 Aug 03 - 01:53 PM
Amos 05 Aug 03 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Dan 15 Jan 10 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 07:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 15 Jan 10 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 07:38 PM
Bill D 15 Jan 10 - 07:56 PM
mousethief 16 Jan 10 - 12:39 AM
Amos 16 Jan 10 - 01:01 AM
GUEST,lordflea 30 May 12 - 09:43 AM
dick greenhaus 30 May 12 - 09:47 PM
GUEST 09 Nov 15 - 06:44 PM
keberoxu 09 Nov 15 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,DrWord 10 Nov 15 - 12:40 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Nov 15 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 10 Nov 15 - 07:12 AM
Amos 10 Nov 15 - 12:28 PM
beardedbruce 10 Nov 15 - 12:33 PM
Joe_F 10 Nov 15 - 06:22 PM
GUEST 10 Nov 15 - 06:22 PM
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Subject: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 07:34 PM

I was reminded of this piece the other day and thought it worth sharing here.

      - Mark




A Poet's Advice

e. e. cummings
A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through
words.

This may sound easy. It isn't.

A lot of people think or believe or know they feel—but that's
thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is
feeling—not knowing or believing or thinking.

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single
human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think
or you believe or you know, you're a lot of other people: but the
moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself.

To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night
and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest
battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working
just a little harder than anybody who isn't a poet can possible
imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like
somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the
time—and whenever we do it, we are not poets.

If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and
working and feeling, you find you've written one line of one poem,
you'll be very lucky indeed.

And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do
something easy, like learning how to blow up the world—unless you're
not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.

Does this sound dismal? It isn't.

It's the most wonderful life on earth.

Or so I feel.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 08:22 PM

WEE WOW! I haven't read this for years! Thabk you for posting it! Bob


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: David Ingerson
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 08:39 PM

Some




               powerful




                              words

there.



David


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Amos
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 12:10 AM

Ah, Mark, you're a ninny after my own soul, thanks.



A


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: mack/misophist
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 12:13 AM

He sang of Olaf, glad and big,
Whose fondest heart recoiled at war,
A conscious objector.

And now Olaf will never die.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 07:11 AM

e.e. cummings idea of hell?

A WORLD WHERE THE CAPS LOCK IS STUCK ON!

LTS


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Amos
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 08:39 AM

...who said upon what once were feet
there is some shit I will not eat....


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 09:30 AM

e.e. cummings never wrote them poems....they were done by a cockroach named archy. cummings just found them on his typewriter in the morning and published them.

she being brand new.....


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 12:04 PM

Speaking as a sometime poet, I think this is mostly crappy advice (though e.e. cummings was a wonderful poet from time to time). The only good paragraph is: "Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time --and whenever we do it, we are not poets." The rest of it feeds into the usual self-indulgent emotional narcissism that has done its best to wreck poetry to the point where thousands of people write it, and no one reads it. It is not just self-expression. Real poetry is a deft balancing of, among other things, all kinds of experience (not just individual feeling), and the wrestling with the complex process of heightening our common language.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 01:53 PM

*smile*...I had earlier pondered exactly how to say approximately what Peter T. has done so eloquently.

I am reminded of school of 'art' which allows random flinging of paint or welding bits of junk together and naming it "Found in an Alley".

Perhaps cummings didn't quite mean what he seems to be saying...that unless it is totally different from what everyone else has done, it isn't original & creative.
------------------------------------------------------------------
One 'thread creep' example which may illustrate what can happen when use of language, whether in poetry of other endeavors gets too clever for it's own good.

In some parts of the African-American community, it is common to try to name a child using a 'unique' name...which is a nice idea, but often ends up just being an awkward variation on LaToya, or other "same but different" categories. Now the same thing is happening in other subcultures in society, with startling results *sigh*(no, 'Dweezle' & 'Moon unit' are not the worst!)

I hope I haven't streched the metaphor 'too' much.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Amos
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 05:20 PM

...who said upon what once were feet
there is some shit I will not eat....


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:12 PM

You've missed the point. He's not talking so much about how to write poetry as how to go about living this life. And in fact it is quite profound.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:24 PM

(??!_)


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:35 PM

My favorite advice.....

Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be


Archibald MacLeish


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:37 PM

I was into pre-pseudo minimalist-response found poetry for a second there. Sorry.


Anyone looking for his complete poems on-line will find them at


Look at last link in "Some of his poetry"


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:38 PM

E.E. Cummings poetry that is. (Just capitalizing on the use of his name . . . .)


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:56 PM

go to your room!


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: mousethief
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 12:39 AM

The trick to writing poetry
Is write a lot of it
Then have a friend to read it all
And tell you that it's shit.

Doggerel, I know :)

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 01:01 AM

Ah, Peter, who knows what to feel is when
I allows itself to be felt as feeling among
All that is to be felt -- the Thou and the It
And all between in the instant
That feeling becomes the driven sound, the poem.

Lying about who you truly are no feeling will
Allow to the
Sonic booms of unhampered feel
That makes a poem be poem, feeling.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,lordflea
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:43 AM

That's because you are thinking


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:47 PM

Where is all the damn punctuation coming from?


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 15 - 06:44 PM

hi.
just a poet from michigan.
thank you for having this piece on your site.

i've had this quote on my refridgerator for at least ten plus years.
it was totally light faded.
thank you for a printable copy.
-john van hattum


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Nov 15 - 07:08 PM

Looked up Amos's quote, and found instead:

"Olaf (upon what were once knees)"

which rhymes with a different line than the one that ends with "eat."


Oh, and Bill D.? His name was Don Marquis, I believe, the fellow who wrote Archy and Mehitabel, the latter of whom was "toujours gai and always a lady."


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 12:40 AM

What cool revivals of old threads ~ Archie & Mehitabel currently pulled from the past on another thread. Mehitabel was my late wife's clown name ~ she was a great Marquis fan.
& I love cummings.   A _most_ remarkable thing is his recorded voice, declaiming his odd orthography|typography in an equally odd voice. Haven't looked for files, but recall it very clearly from a public library recording. Thanks for the rethreading ~ this weaving of the web ~ &
keep on pickin'
dennis
yeah, my signature is all lower case :)


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 04:23 AM

A poem should not mean
But be


Archibald MacLeish

..,,..,

Quoted above. Maybe. Lots of poets have tried to define what poetry is and does. I love Will's formulation, spoken by Duke Theseus in MND

As the Imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns it to shapes, and gives to aery nothing
A local habitation and a name


≈M≈

O how I wish I could be a poet! I have a first-cousin who is a well-known one, Richard Burns aka Berengarten.. But I, alas, tho I can write discursively, & come up with an occasional bit of comic verse to win the odd magazine competition, was born without the true creative gene ? one of the greatest regrets of my long life.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 07:12 AM

FIRST, A POEM MUST BE MAGICAL
By Jose Garcia Villa
(Filipino writer August 5, 1908 ? February 7, 1997)

First, a poem must be magical,
Then musical as a seagull.
It must be a brightness moving
And hold secret a bird's flowering
It must be slender as a bell,
And it must hold fire as well.
It must have the wisdom of bows
And it must kneel like a rose.
It must be able to hear
The luminance of dove and deer.
It must be able to hide
What it seeks, like a bride.
And over all I would like to hover
God, smiling from the poem's cover.


Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Amos
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 12:28 PM

Lovely post, Mister Goyle!


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: beardedbruce
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 12:33 PM

Sonnet 24/01/02                        DCL

A sonnet is a frozen tear, a kiss,
Preserved in fourteen lines. It is a pearl
Of layered thought, a gem too bright to miss
When set on page: One blossom, to unfurl
To perfect flower. As amber, sealed soul
In timeless tomb, it can show time long past,
Or hold this instant in it's grasp. The whole
Of heart upon one single page, to last
Beyond even our dreams, it seems a sip,
Distilled to essence. Refined within mind,
Lines sing sweet song, and rhymes in patterns slip,
To weave image that leaves mere vision blind.
A single chord, to resound in one's heart:
Echo of past that might our future start.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 06:22 PM

Typographical aside: The notion that Cummings never used capital letters, and in particular wrote his own name in lowercase, is wrong. It is true that in his poetry he was playful with the distinction, and often used one or the other where you wouldn't expect; but in prose, including his signature, he followed the usual rules.


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Subject: RE: A Poet's Advice - e. e. cummings
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 06:22 PM

Typographical aside: The notion that Cummings never used capital letters, and in particular spelled his own name in lowercase, is wrong. It is true that in his poetry he was playful in his use of the distinction, and when he used capitals it was often where one wouldn't expect them; but in prose (including his signature) he used capitals in the standard ways.


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