Friday, July 10, 2015

poems written in the style of e. e. cummings

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 blown
the sky away and all the words away,
and the pole stands. I think we too have known
autumn too long
                (and what have you to say,
talking, texting, sharing,
liking, liking, liking -   did you love somebody
and have you a bullet somewhere in your heart
shot from some dumb winter?
                                          Oh crazy daddy
of death dance cruelly for us or start

the last flag flying in the world brain
of net!) Let us as we have seen see
doom’s deliverance ………...a wind has blown the stain
away and the sky away and the
pole stands:
                      the pole stands. The pole
suddenly 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!


Liz Garton Scanlon said...

"Oh crazy daddy of death...."
WOW, Andi! I really love what you've done here. So much.
Another amazing month of working side by side -- thanks!

laurasalas said...

Look at your cute Soundcloud profile pic, Andi! I love the joy on your face:>)

This is fantastic. Even though I am not a student of cummings, your poem is one that makes me just feel its cummingsness. I especially love

"the last flag flying in the world brain
of net!)"

And your poem makes me feel--not in my (world) brain, but in my gut...

Sara said...

I didn't realize the underlying structure of ee's poem right away either---he kind of tucks it away for us to discover. Your poem is so painful and beautiful, Andi. The image of the pole as one of despair and of hope, of things rising and falling, full and empty hearts---it's all there in that image. Brava, you. xo

tanita✿davis said...

"the wind has blown the stain away"
Oh, that it would.
I love that pole, for some reason. It reminds me of the end of "The Farmer in the Dell." The cheese - and the pole - stand alone. We need something to hang our hopes on, after all...

Katie TheLogonauts said...

Really interesting exercise, these are such fun poems to read! Your image of an empty flag pole is a powerful one with our current political situation. Thanks for sharing with Poetry Friday!

Tara said...

Oh wow...and the pole stands. This poem came like a jolt today, especially today, when the flag comes down.

Anonymous said...

The way you edited this - man, it really sings. And I agree with Laura about you capturing the cummingsness of things. "oh crazy daddy of death" is awesome, and the repetitions of "the pole stands" at the end. *swoon*

Really enjoyed listening to your reading.