Punctuation and Poems

The other day, I linked to a post at Kill Zone Blog about punctuation. That post included an Emily Dickenson poem, which is a great choice for looking at dashes, certainly. But it made me think of other poems and poets that march to a different punctuation drum, such as:

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

That’s by, of course, ee cummings. I’m sure you all realized that, even if you have never encountered this particular poem before. I don’t remember ever seeing it before in my life, but I like it a lot, so I’m happy to share it with you all. As small as a world and as large as alone. That’s a wonderful line.

Also, more distracting than any possible use of punctuation or capitalization — lack of spaces! Does anybody else think so? I’m wondering what effect that is supposed to produce, and whether it produces that effect. It makes me pause, startled, every time.

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2 thoughts on “Punctuation and Poems”

  1. My favourite e.e. cummings poem:

    l(a

    le
    af
    fa
    ll

    s)
    one
    l

    iness

    Very effective use of parentheses, I must say! And spacing.

    I also love the line, “with up so floating many bells down” from the poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town”.

    And now I’m going off to read a bunch of e.e. cummings poems!

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