This week we celebrated poetry teatime with e e cummings.
I have loved this particular poet since I was a teenager
a depressingly long time ago and when I learned that his birthday was in October, of course we had to include his work for poetry teatime!
A word of caution, should you decide to take a look at his work: Some of them are definitely for a more mature audience, so don’t just hand your kids the book or site and turn them loose! Select a few yourself. 😉
One of the things that made e e cummings’ work so interesting is that he rarely used capitals, standard punctuation rules, or accepted syntax to create his poetry. Instead, he used motion and emphasis with things such as running words together or putting a single word on a line.
Chansons Innocentes: I
in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious the little lame balloonman whistles far and wee and eddieandbill come running from marbles and piracies and it’s spring when the world is puddle-wonderful the queer old balloonman whistles far and wee and bettyandisbel come dancing from hop-scotch and jump-rope and it’s spring and the goat-footed balloonMan whistles far and wee
These are great poems for inspiring kids to try to create their own works of poetry, especially those who feel the pressure to rhyme when they do it. We made up a few as we ate our balloon-shaped cookies for our poetry teatime.
I encouraged my children (9 and 15) to forget about what poems are “supposed to” look like and explore emotion, movement, and humor using only lowercase words and no punctuation. I can highly recommend this as an activity with any age; the work they produced was far superior to previous poems and I think it’s because they felt free from constraints. It was also a lot of fun!
One of the really neat things about Edward Estlin Cummings is that he had many talents. He was an accomplished artist (the self-portrait in my post image is his from around 1920). He also wrote two autobiographical novels about being a prisoner of war, and several plays – one of which was a ballet version of the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin and was never performed! Can you imagine what that must have looked like?!
I’ll leave you with my personal favorite poem, a love poem that he wrote to his 30-year spouse:
Have you explored e e cummings’ poems with your kids? Please share – I’d love to hear or read what you did!
Don’t miss all the other October birthday lessons from my fellow bloggers at iHomeschool Network!