The seventeenth of February, 2011: Mrs Lowell and the little lame balloonman

Here’s a poem that I met lately, and liked.

As you might have guessed, it’s by e. e. cummings (1926). I quite like cummings, somewhat in spite of myself: I find his stuff fun, the feeling true enough and the wit likeable (although at the same time I want to give him a slap, or at least a gift-set of capital letters). And I like his little lame balloonman who whistles far and wee.

While I’m on American poetry (and have my Norton anthology open on my knee), here’s another one I’ve encountered this week, from the generation prior to cummings’ (though, with its Poe-ish rhymes and archaic setting, it feels older). It’s called ‘Patterns’, by Amy Lowell.

Lowell (1874-1925) became the matriarch of the Imagist movement, largely by being hugely fat and energetic and smoking cigars and not being really much good at writing poems. Good on her.



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