For the past month my Poetry Sisters and I have been working on writing poems modeled after poems written by e. e. cummings. He is one of my favorite poets, so when we were throwing around names trying to chose a focus for our work I was delighted when everyone jumped on his. Something about his mix of irreverent, unconventional diction and grammar built on top of an exceptionally sharp wit and keen insight just floors me.
Each of us have chosen a poem to echo, or riff off of in writing our own versions. We've played with his signature style features like making up words, throwing punctuation and capitalization around like mad geniuses, and touching painful topics with the delicacy of a surgeon's knife. It's been exhausting and exhilarating work! Just to make it more frightening we decided to go ahead and record ourselves reading our poems, and post that along with the text. Someone (I can't remember who...) mentioned that she enjoyed hearing e. e. read his own works, and things went on from there. But oh! it is so cool to hear my Poetry Sister's voices reading their own work! We even made a little group on Soundcloud so we can follow each other and continue to share... if we like, of course. No pressure. You could do it too, with your poems!
So, the poems. I chose one of my favorite poems to work from, which you can read here, and also enjoy here how Kelly R. Fineman enlightens us about the structure and beauty of how it's put together. I didn't realize it when I chose it, but it's actually a sonnet with broken lines and some half rhymes. I'll just give you the first stanza here so you see how it begins...
a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand. I think i too have known
autumn too long
(and what have you to say,...
..........................................-e. e. cummings
It was first published in 1923 in the volume Tulips and Chimneys, in the section subtitled "sonnets - unrealities".
Here is my poem, echoing that style:
a wind has blown the flag away and blownthe sky away and all the words away,and the pole stands. I think we too have knownautumn too long(and what have you to say,
talking, texting, sharing,liking, liking, liking - did you love somebodyand have you a bullet somewhere in your heartshot from some dumb winter?Oh crazy daddyof death dance cruelly for us or start
the last flag flying in the world brainof net!) Let us as we have seen seedoom’s deliverance ………...a wind has blown the stain
away and the sky away and the
pole stands:the pole stands. The polesuddenly waits, flying an empty soul.-Andromeda Jazmon
Listen to it read by me, recorded on Soundcloud:
And here are links to my Poetry Sister's poems:
Sara Lewis Holmes writing in the style of "in just spring"
Trisha Stohr Hunt writing in the style of "silence"
Liz Garton Scanlon writing in the style of "i like my body when it is with your"
Tanita S. Davis writing in the style of "The Cambridge Ladies Who Live In Furnished Souls"
Kelly R. Fineman writing in the style of "maggie and milly and molly and may"Laura Purdie Salas writing in the style of "Spring is like a perhaps hand"
Listen to all of us reading our poems at the Soundcloud group "Poetry Sisters".
Also make sure you go visit the Friday Poetry roundup at The Logonauts!