Originally Posted by WillOtheWisp
But I think E.E. Cummings (or e.e. cummings?) makes a poor witness for a case that formal poetry can have a visceral bite.
In the poem you cite, Cummings per his modus operandi, has tortured the sonnet form to his own device. Most noticeably, Cummings amputates the pithy little couplet at the end. Is a pithy-little-couplet-less sonnet still a sonnet?
Cummings' sonnet is a cross between an English sonnet and and Italian sonnet. His rhyme scheme is ababcdcdefgfeg
. An English sonnet traditionally ends with a couplet, as you state. An Italian sonnet is of two parts, an octave
(often, but not always, rhymed abbacddc
) and a sestet
, which has various rhyme patterns, usually a variant of efgefg
. So Cummings' piece is essentially an Italian sonnet with an octave rhymed in the fashion of an English sonnet.
Not that any of this matters, of course. Other, later poets (e.g., Ted Berrigan
) go much further than Cummings in playing around with the sonnet.
This post, by the way, illustrates at least a couple of my faults as a writer: (1) A tendency to talk too much, and (2) irritating sententiousness.
Apologies for the interruption; please resume your usual programming.