Tag Archives: E.E. Cummings

Poems for National Poetry Month

April is my favorite time of year. Not for the showers (although, rain’s nice), nor for the beginning of spring; rather, April is my favorite time of the year because it’s officially National Poetry Month and that means I get to spam everyone I know on Facebook with poems everyday, and sometimes twice a day, for a whole month. It’s also the month of William Shakespeare’s birth and death, so I like to pay special attention to his sonnets and poems, as well as poetry that celebrates his work, during my favorite time of the year.

It’s really an English degree holder’s dream.

I want to share poetry with everyone this time of the year, and you are not immune. Here’s a poetry month starter kit of poetry for you to share with your friends, or to just read an enjoy, during my favorite month of the year.

Literary Paraphernalia: Literary Couple Tattoos

Oh yes, it’s February, and we all know what that means.

Mushy stuff.

Romance abounds and, for the couple that loves books and tattoos, we have something cool for you.

So, in honor of mushy stuff, here are some great literary tattoos for couples.

A split quote from Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of No Importance.”
While I feel like these are on one person’s pair of feet, matching Harry Potter inspired patronus tattoos would be great for couples.
Speaking of Harry Potter inspired couple tattoos, this one captures my heart, always.
A George R.R. Martin quote for the “Game of Thrones” lovers.
For the “Hunger Games” fans.

15 Historic Poetry Recordings We’re Lucky to Have

Technology has made the life of writers and readers much easier. We can store thousands of books in an e-reading device; write, edit, and save stories with a word processor; and use our phones as a dictionary and thesaurus and skip lugging the heavy books around. Now that many classic literary texts have been entered into the public domain, readers can find some of the greatest works in history with the click of a button. And as William Faulkner once said, “Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.”

That same logic applies to poetry too, of course. And as poetry is often read aloud, it’s a great idea to listen and learn from some of the masters. Thanks to technology, we have the ability to access historic recordings of some classic poets, like Dylan Thomas and Langston Hughes.

You’d be surprised by how many great poets can’t read well. By that, I don’t mean they’re illiterate, but, for whatever reason, when they read their poems they don’t engage with their audience. Personally, Ezra Pound’s voice grates at me, but I really enjoyed Anne Sexton’s recording of “Letter Written on a Ferry.” It was honest and soothing; it lulled the listener in.

But listen and decide for yourself. I’ve included fifteen historic recordings, with links to The Poetry Archive, where you can hear them, below.

1. “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” by e.e. cummings

Ezra Pound - Creative Commons
e.e. cummings 1917 passport photo

2. “The Waste Land Part V – What the Thunder said” by T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

In Defense of Love Poems

People who know me might be confused by this post. I don’t come off as one overly sentimental, especially when it comes to love or love poems. But I think love is part of the human experience, and thus, like anything that makes us human, is ripe to be explored in poetry and art.

While I agree with Melanie that it is annoying for all people to assume when one says “I write poetry,” that it is mushy-love based flowery poetry, I still think love poetry is a valid and wonderful form of poetry. There are many kinds of love, and many ways of expressing that love through poetry.

Familial love is often celebrated in poems, such as W.B. Yeats’s poem A Prayer for my Daughter written about the birth of his daughter and his hopes for her in the future, or Dylan Thomas’s poem Do not go gentle into that good night written to his father to encourage his dad to fight against his death. Langston Hughes also wrote a poem titled Mother to Son, about a mother summing up her fight for equality and passing the fight and her fire onto her boy.

Brotherly love, or bromance (which is actually a word now, so I don’t feel bad using it), is another theme often explored in poetry. Shakespeare did it in the first 126 sonnets of his 154 sonnet sequence (although, these poems can also be read as being about more than platonic love but there are many subtle things, such as Shakespeare encouraging the youth he admires to procreate and marry so that Shakespeare and the world can admire his offspring, that point to a more platonic reading for me). The best example of brotherly love from Shakespeare’s sequence comes in the form of Sonnet 30, a sonnet that explores how Shakespeare would mourn for his friend in his friend’s death. Robert Frost wrote A Time to Talk about the values of slowing life down to appreciate a chat with friends. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also wrote a poem The Arrow and the Song about how our actions, both physical in the way of an arrow and spiritual in the way of a song, take root in the world around us and are often carried by those we are close to when we feel that these things are lost.

The First Poems of Famous Writers

Repost alert! If you’ve been following this blog since April 8th, 2013, skip this post. If you’re a more recent reader, here’s a great throwback to a past post I wrote about the first poems of famous writers. Everyone starts someplace when they write, right?

Below are some of our favorite writers and their very first poems ever written. What do you think? Which are your favorite? Can you see where their style started from? Do these poems inspire you? Let us know in the comments below!

William Shakespeare

“Untitled” (1582) (1 year before he had a poem published)

Those lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breath’d forth the sound that said I hate
To me that languish’d for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come.
Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom:
And taught it thus anew to greet:
‘I hate’ she alter’d with an end
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And sav’d my life, saying ‘not you’

Literary Paraphernalia: Bookish Quote Tattoos

I love tattoos, especially ones with a literary slant. For this week’s Literary Paraphernalia, I decided to focus on literary tattoos involving text, choosing tattoos with some unique placements.

 

This quote comes from Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. The whole quote is “Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.”

 

 

Okay so technically this quote isn’t “literary” because it comes from Ludwig Van Beethoven, but since it has been quoted by many other people (including Sex and The City) i’m sure it’s ended up in a book somewhere. In other words, I just felt like putting it here.

 

 

In case you can’t read this, it says “I follow the rabbit.” A nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

 

 

This quote comes from Charles Bukowski’s poem “Bluebird.” And while the line is repeated many times throughout the poem, this is my favorite variation: there’s a bluebird in my heart that / wants to get out / but I pour whiskey on him and inhale / cigarette smoke / and the whores and the bartenders / and / the grocery clerks / never know that / he’s / in there.

 

Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Poetry-Inspired Pieces of Etsy Gear

Happy National Poetry Month! To get you in the mood to celebrate this wonderful time of the year, we thought we’d share some Etsy gear inspired by some of our favorite poets.

Emily Dickinson tank top – $20.
(Credit: Etsy.com)

Don’t be a nobody—or do. I think she preferred it if you are a nobody, actually. But be a nobody in an awesome Emily Dickinson tank top.

T.S. Eliot inspired necklace – $45.
(Credit: Etsy.com)

Let us go then, you and I, and buy this kind of super awesome necklace inspired by The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.

Sylvia Plath flats – $85.
(Credit: Etsy.com)

Be all a-flicker with these Poppies in July inspired shoes. Just be sure to do no harm while wearing them.

Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Valentine’s Gifts for (Book) Lovers

Valentine’s Day is eight days away. If you’re still looking for a gift for your sweet, then this is the list for you (well—if your Valentine is a book lover, that is).

Buy it Here

This message-in-a-bottle necklace has a love poem inside it. Specifically, E.E. Cumming: “i carry your heart with me(i carry it in / my heart)i am never without it.” You can also request a custom order and create your own love message.

Buy it Here

We love Mr. Darcy and this mug. Ladies, maybe if we drink from this cup every morning he’ll magically appear before us? A girl can dream.

Buy it Here

If you love words, then these quotation mark earrings are for you.

Buy it Here

Most of the country is still experiencing freezing temperatures. Wrap your loved one in the warmth of your love (yeah—that just happened). The scarf comes in several different colors.

Happy (Belated) Birthday, E. E. Cummings

Unbeing dead isn’t being alive. – E. E. Cummings

So I was supposed to write a post about E. E. Cummings birthday, and I am, only a few days late. So, happy belated birthday! Anyway, I chose to write about E. E. Cummings for his birthday because I am a fan. I find his poetry intricate and beautiful, as well as challenging and stimulating. Here’s a poem I’m sure many are familiar with:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                   i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

E. E. Cummings is known for having fun with his punctuation, and many don’t even capitalize his name, but rather write it as e e cummings, periods missing and all. Want to know why?

The Oral Element

I feel like a lot of poetry is misread – poetry is an oral art form that is meant to be read aloud or performed. Poetry on the page is much different then poetry from the lips of a poet or from a performer.

Take E.E. Cummings as an example. Here is his written work:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)