E.E. Cummings quotes

E.E. Cummings photo
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E.E. Cummings

Birthdate: 14. October 1894
Date of death: 3. September 1962

Edward Estlin "E. E." Cummings , often styled as e e cummings, as he sometimes signed his name, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He wrote approximately 2,900 poems; two autobiographical novels; four plays and several essays. He is remembered as an eminent voice of 20th century English-language literature.

Works

1 × 1
E.E. Cummings
Him
E.E. Cummings
Tulips and Chimneys
Tulips and Chimneys
E.E. Cummings
EIMI
E.E. Cummings
The Enormous Room
The Enormous Room
E.E. Cummings

„no sunbeam ever lies“

—  E.E. Cummings, book 1 × 1

Source: 1 x 1 (1944), XXX

„true wars are never won“

—  E.E. Cummings, book 1 × 1

Source: 1 x 1 (1944), XXX

„my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world“

—  E.E. Cummings

unless you're not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.
Does this sound dismal? It isn't.
It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.
E. E. Cummings
A Poet's Advice (1958)

„Simple people, people who don't exist, prefer things which don't exist, simple things.
"Good" and "bad" are simple things. You bomb me = "bad." I bomb you = "good."“

—  E.E. Cummings

Simple people(who,incidentally,run this socalled world)know this(they know everything)whereas complex people—people who feel something—are very,very ignorant and really don't know anything.
"Foreword to an Exhibit: I" (1944)

„when you confuse art with propaganda, you confuse an act of God with something which can be turned on and off like the hot water faucet. If "God" means nothing to you(or less than nothing)I'll cheerfully substitute one of your own favorite words,"freedom."“

—  E.E. Cummings

You confuse freedom—the only freedom—with absolute tyranny…
all over this socalled world,hundreds of millions of servile and insolent inhuman unbeings are busily unrolling in the enlightenment of propaganda.
Essay in the anthology The War Poets (1945) edited by Oscar Williams

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„To our softhearted altruist, she is the adorably helpless incarnation of saintliness. To our hardhearted egoist, she is the puzzlingly indestructible embodiment of idiocy. The benevolent overdog sees her as an inspired weakling. The malevolent undermouse views her as a born target. Meanwhile Krazy Kat, through this double misunderstanding, fulfills her joyous destiny.“

—  E.E. Cummings

A Foreword to Krazy (1946)
Context: This hero and villain no more understand Krazy Kat than the mythical denizens of a two dimensional realm understand some three dimensional intruder. The world of Offissa Pupp and Ignatz Mouse is a knowledgeable power-world, in terms of which our unknowledgeable heroine is powerlessness personified. The sensical law of this world is might makes right; the nonsensical law of our heroine is love conquers all. To put the oak in the acorn: Ignatz Mouse and Offissa Pupp (each completely convinced that his own particular brand of might makes right) are simple-minded—Krazy isn't—therefore, to Offissa Pupp and Ignatz Mouse, Krazy is. But if both our hero and our villain don't and can't understand our heroine, each of them can and each of them does misunderstand her differently. To our softhearted altruist, she is the adorably helpless incarnation of saintliness. To our hardhearted egoist, she is the puzzlingly indestructible embodiment of idiocy. The benevolent overdog sees her as an inspired weakling. The malevolent undermouse views her as a born target. Meanwhile Krazy Kat, through this double misunderstanding, fulfills her joyous destiny.

„The All which is beyond comprehension — the All which is perpetually discovered, yet undiscovered: sexual, sweet, Alive!“

—  E.E. Cummings, Him

Him (1927)
Context: A distinct throat. Which breathes. A head: small, smaller than a flower. With eyes and with lips. Lips more slender than light; a smile how carefully and slowly made, a smile made entirely of dream. Eyes deeper than Spring. Eyes darker than Spring, more new... These, these are the further miracles... the breasts. Thighs. The All which is beyond comprehension — the All which is perpetually discovered, yet undiscovered: sexual, sweet, Alive!

„Every artist's strictly illimitable country is himself.“

—  E.E. Cummings

Re Ezra Pound (p. 69)
i : six nonlectures (1953)
Context: Every artist's strictly illimitable country is himself.
An artist who plays that country false has committed suicide; and even a good lawyer cannot kill the dead. But a human being who's true to himself — whoever himself may be — is immortal; and all the atomic bombs of all the antiartists in spacetime will never civilize immortality.

„Simple people, people who don't exist, prefer things which don't exist,simple things.“

—  E.E. Cummings

"Foreword to an Exhibit: I" (1944)
Context: Simple people, people who don't exist, prefer things which don't exist, simple things.
"Good" and "bad" are simple things. You bomb me = "bad." I bomb you = "good." Simple people(who, incidentally, run this socalled world)know this(they know everything)whereas complex people—people who feel something—are very, very ignorant and really don't know anything.

„There are certain things in which one is unable to believe for the simple reason that he never ceases to feel them.“

—  E.E. Cummings

Foreword
is 5 (1926)
Context: There are certain things in which one is unable to believe for the simple reason that he never ceases to feel them. Things of this sort— things which are always inside of us and in fact are us and which consequently will not be pushed off or away where we can begin thinking about them— are no longer things; they, and the us which they are, equals A Verb; an IS.

„It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.“

—  E.E. Cummings

A Poet's Advice (1958)
Context: my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world — unless you're not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.
Does this sound dismal? It isn't.
It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.

„Art is a mystery.
A mystery is something immeasurable.
In so far as every child and woman and man may be immeasurable, art is the mystery of every man and woman and child. In so far as a human being is an artist, skies and mountains and oceans and thunderbolts and butterflies are immeasurable; and art is every mystery of nature.“

—  E.E. Cummings

"Foreword to an Exhibit: I" (1944)
Context: Art is a mystery.
A mystery is something immeasurable.
In so far as every child and woman and man may be immeasurable, art is the mystery of every man and woman and child. In so far as a human being is an artist, skies and mountains and oceans and thunderbolts and butterflies are immeasurable; and art is every mystery of nature. Nothing measurable can be alive; nothing which is not alive can be art; nothing which cannot be art is true: and everything untrue doesn’t matter a very good God damn...

„This hero and villain no more understand Krazy Kat than the mythical denizens of a two dimensional realm understand some three dimensional intruder.“

—  E.E. Cummings

A Foreword to Krazy (1946)
Context: This hero and villain no more understand Krazy Kat than the mythical denizens of a two dimensional realm understand some three dimensional intruder. The world of Offissa Pupp and Ignatz Mouse is a knowledgeable power-world, in terms of which our unknowledgeable heroine is powerlessness personified. The sensical law of this world is might makes right; the nonsensical law of our heroine is love conquers all. To put the oak in the acorn: Ignatz Mouse and Offissa Pupp (each completely convinced that his own particular brand of might makes right) are simple-minded—Krazy isn't—therefore, to Offissa Pupp and Ignatz Mouse, Krazy is. But if both our hero and our villain don't and can't understand our heroine, each of them can and each of them does misunderstand her differently. To our softhearted altruist, she is the adorably helpless incarnation of saintliness. To our hardhearted egoist, she is the puzzlingly indestructible embodiment of idiocy. The benevolent overdog sees her as an inspired weakling. The malevolent undermouse views her as a born target. Meanwhile Krazy Kat, through this double misunderstanding, fulfills her joyous destiny.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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