06 November 2008

e.e. cummings - the poetic prophet of texting

i remember sometime in high school being taken by e.e. cummings disdain for capitalization and punctuation. it seemed to me stylish. of course at the time, i had no idea that an entire generation might adopt his style to communicate while typing into small, portable phones.

if e.e. cummings role as the prototype of texting were more clear, we could perhaps expect text messages like this:

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

e.e. cummings told us what is possible with texting even before it was invented. i, for one, will do more to reach for this standard.


ThomasLB said...

Once I quit using quotation marks for a while, but people didn't think, "Oh, he's clearly imitating the style of William Saroyan." They just thought I was an idiot that didn't know how to punctuate.

Somehow you have to demostrate to people that you're breaking the rules on purpose. Otherwise, they'll just think the worst.

K-Kix said...

or txt msgs lyk dis:

sins filng s frst
hu pays ny attn
2 da sntx f tngs
wl nvr holy ks u

cce said...

I love that poem and didn't know it before now. Thanks for sharing. And for the record, I have never texted anyone...not that this should surprise you given my wordiness and my love of the comma.

Anonymous said...


Just buy a phone with a full keyboard, and you can then easily text with all the commas you want :)

Ron Davison said...

I once felt instant affinity with a guy who said, I used to play stupid for humor but no one knew I was joking.

e.e. cummings 2.0?

You have yet to text anyone? For some odd reason I like that news. Maybe because it makes me feel so hip to the jive - having done it at least a dozen times already.

I think that a full keyboard with phone is called a laptop - and then it's called chatting, no?