The Poetry of E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings, who was born in 1894 and died in 1962, wrote many
poems with unconventional punctuation and capitalization, and unusual
line, word, and even letter placements - namely, ideograms. Cummings'
most difficult form of prose is probably the ideogram; it is extremely
terse and it combines both visual and auditory elements. There may be
sounds or characters on the page that cannot be verbalized or cannot
convey the same message if pronounced and not read. Four of Cummings'
poems - l(a, mortals), !blac, and swi( - illustrate the ideogram form
quite well. Cummings utilizes unique syntax in these poems in order to
convey messages visually as well as verbally.
Although one may think of l(a as a poem of sadness and
loneliness, Cummings probably did not intend that. This poem is about
individuality - oneness (Kid 200-1). The theme of oneness can be
derived from the numerous inezces and forms of the number '1'