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Griffin Epstein

Honors English 9
4 April 2016

E.E. Cummings
And O Sweet Spontaneous

Who was E.E. Cummings?-Early


Born 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cummings was told to embrace his creativity as a
child by his liberal parents and started writing
poems as young as 10
He graduated from Harvard after living the first
21 years of his life in New England
Cummings went to France along with a friend as a
volunteer as an ambulance driver during World
War 1
Cummings was arrested along with his friend for
espionage there after he had outspoken war

Cummings Adult Life

Cummings spent much of the rest of his life at a farm

in New Hampshire and at a New York City
Cummings also painted along with writing poems
throughout his life and published many of these with
his paintings
Cummings poems and paintings were influenced by
abstract poets Gertrude Stein and Amy Lowell, his
experiences in the war in France, and his staying in
Paris for long stretches later in his life
He passed away in 1963 after three wives and
hundreds of published poems

E.E. Cummings Style

E.E. Cummings is known for his abstract and different

As in O Sweet Spontaneous Cummings would not follow
common meter, rhyme, or line structure as most poets
Especially in his time this was extraordinarily rare
Cummings would go as far as to sometimes replace verbs
as nouns or just use one word to replace all other normal
He would sometimes finish a sentence in another a line or
another stanza after starting it in the one before
Cummings poems are famous for being tree-hugger like,
romantic, or heavily critical against science, society, or
anything that takes away from the natural beauty of the

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

O beauty

fingers of
prurient philosopher pinched

has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

often have religions taken
qthee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest
them only with

Poetic Elements in O Sweet Spontaneous

Cummings provides a sense of rhythm with euphony through his

wild style with the help of alliteration and similes
His abstract structure and wordage along with on purpose
misspellings and no real grammar side with his theme and overall
message that there is no set system and no set norm that we
should follow in society
This is present in almost every Cummings poem
Cummings does a great job of making the reader feel like science,
philosophy, and religion are actual people through personification
which exemplifies the dislike for the reader of these groups
The poem at points follows a plot as Cummings presents the
problem and informs the people a solution to deal with the
philosophers, etc. and what their mind frame should be towards
these people


O Sweet Spontaneous follows most of Cummings normal traits as

mentioned before: very abstract, criticism of science
While this poem fits the norm style wise for Cummings, his
message trashing science, philosophy, religion, and anybody who
does not lead with the heart is especially glaring and harsh than
most of his poems
While Cummings poems seem to get more critical and direct as he
got older and maybe more angry and upset this poem was written
early in his life career when he may have still been in France for
the war
This poems message is that from the influence of science,
philosophy, etc. ruins the real beauty of earth and provokes people
to lead with someone else's heart or their brain
Cummings message is always lead with your heart because that is
where the true beauty inside always is

What does Donald

Trump lead with?

Images in O Sweet Spontaneous

I find Bernie Sanders to be representative

I found this picture of Cummings message. Sanders always
representative of the seem to lead with the heart not caring that
poem as it showed a it may cost political points he believes and
spring day
says things out of the goodness of his
undisturbed by
heart. Even if not all his ideas benefit him
humans prodding
or are perfectly economically sound
fingers that try to (fracking) he always does what is ethically
figure out something and environmentally right but not always
they don't need.
logically right.

This quote and picture I

can see in the last lines of
the poem. Just make sure
your heart is right and let
it open so you can survive
those other people with
the last remaining
untouched places like the
place in the picture.

Putting it all Together

Looking at Cummings background and life story, poem style and

focus, and O Sweet Spontaneous, its message and way it's written
and presented the connections are clear
Cummings early life and upbringing shaped him onto his creative
His experience in France showed him the injustices in the world
and inspired him to do something about it
That answer for him was looking at the beauty of the world and
focusing on the heart and through the heart
Through art and inspiration from other abstract thinking figures
Cummings progressed his ideas of the world and how the world
should be run
O Sweet Spontaneous shows his ideas through its message and
with its style (his style) which portrays how the world should be
according to E.E. Cummings