American War Literature 1914 to Vietnam by Jeffrey Walsh (auth.)

By Jeffrey Walsh (auth.)

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My youngest boy was kilt last with the big eyes i loved like you can't imagine Harry was 0 god kilt he was kilt every bod y was kilt .... 16 The effect is to intensify the impression the reader receives of first hand colloquial speech forming emotional experience of war. Such lines typify Cummings's instinct to discover a new poetic language expressive of war. In order to redefine the war aesthetically, and follow the advice of such modernists as Pound to purge poetic language of its 'emotional slither', American poets ten years or so later occasionally returned in their work to 1914-18 to revalue the conflict poetically.

Cummings'S models extended to the literary avant-garde also and he soon became familiar with the principles of Imagism and with the poetry and theory of Ezra Pound. For Cummings, as he began to make his reputation in the 1920s, the earlier literati, whose rhetoric was dependent upon a dramaturgy of sacrifice, were discredited as spokesmen for the generation that had profited financially from the war. A helpful insight into E. E. Cummings'S involvement in the Poetic Language: First World War 25 First World War is provided by the selection of his letters edited by F.

Cummings rarely tries to understand their problems; they exist, as the v-f-g, targets for him to perform his mental gymnastics against. One translates into a 'rube movie-cop' personage; another has 'pork-like orbs'. Zestfully the hero pillories them. He may use high falutin' language, 'the prestigitatorial vanishment of the v-f-g' or depict instead the comic gestures and movements of these subhuman 'brigands'. He derives consistent pleasure from delivering his laconic insults - 'I looked several blocks through him' - or in narrating the occasions when the mouse outwits the cat.

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