In a world seduced by easy understanding…

This short excerpt from the preface to E.E Cummings: A Life by Susan Cheever, ©2014, was a big help to me in understanding his poems.  It’s a tremendous relief to know I’m not supposed to “get it” right away:

Modernism as (E.E.) Cummings and his mid-twentieth-century colleagues embraced it had three parts. The first was the exploration of using sounds instead of meanings to connect words to the reader’s feelings. The second was the idea of stripping away all unnecessary things to bring attention to form and structure: the formerly hidden skeleton of a work would now be exuberantly visible. The third facet of modernism was an embrace of adversity. In a world seduced by easy understanding, the modernists believed that difficulty enhanced the pleasures of reading. In a Cummings poem the reader must often pick his way toward comprehension, which comes, when it does, in a burst of delight and recognition.

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