As Richard Norton, the head of the Ambulance Corps, wrote to Cummings’s parents in October of 1917: Cummings was released only after three months’ internment in the prison of La Ferté-Macé, an experience that provided the backdrop to his autobiographical prose work “The Enormous Room” (1922). There’s the powerfully playful mimesis of the verse turning a corner “as we turned the corner” and the witty choice of “Divinity,” the street in Cambridge on which his father had taken his degree in theology.He describes finding himself back in Paris: The streets. A few of the pileups (“Bothatonce”) are amusing; most (“allofher”; “slow-wly;bare,ly nudg”) are rather tiresome.
The rhythm of language expresses this, where every thought is expressed in a sentence, and every sentence closed by a period.
This could serve admirably as an account of Cummings’s poem about Buffalo Bill Cody, right down to the description of the “pigeons.”Later, James expanded on a second idea that’s central to Cummings: the distinction between the empirical self, or “me,” and the pure ego, or “I,” complete with capitalization.
The modernist ideas about personality and the consciousness that were so important to Cummings were expressed partly in James’s “Principles of Psychology” (1890) and, more succinctly, in his 1892 essay “The Stream of Consciousness,” where he muses on the substantive and transitive states of mind: When we take a general view of the wonderful stream of our consciousness, what strikes us first is the different pace of its parts.
Like a bird’s life, it seems to be an alternation of flights and perchings.
We're both working professionals, climbing the ladder of success. As bitching sessions got more frequent and coffee breaks became routine, we didn't even realise when we became friends. Some years passed and we moved to different organisations. Not every relationship leads to marriage and babies. But it doesn't mean they should let go of their love, right?
We go for dinners and movies, chat for hours on phone and hold hands when together. But we stayed in touch and would spend a lot of time chatting on phone.
I'd finally understood that I was in love with him. But he couldn't have left his wife - he wanted to but knew that society wouldn't forgive him. I'm not his wife, the future mother to his kids, the one who'll hold his hand when he's old, right?
I was the 'other' woman, hidden behind curtains and closed doors. Caught between the woman he'd married and the woman he loved, he was living a dual life.
(He continued to paint throughout his life.) At his Harvard graduation, he delivered a speech on “The New Art,” in which he spoke enthusiastically of Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase,” Gertrude Stein’s poetry (“Her art is the logic of literary sound painting carried to its extreme”), and Arnold Schoenberg’s music, with its “bristling forests contorted by irresistible winds.”Those metaphorical “bristling forests” became all too real for Cummings when, the day after the United States declared war against Germany in April, 1917, he volunteered for service on the battlefields of France with the Norton-Harjes American Ambulance Corps.
During an interlude in Paris, he saw Stravinsky’s early work, and the première of the ballet “Parade,” which featured a libretto by Jean Cocteau, music by Erik Satie, choreography by Leonide Massine*, and sets and costumes by Pablo Picasso.
The conceit may even play, in an egalitarian spirit, on the idea of capitalization in the economic sense, as if there might be a relationship between upper and lower cases and upper and lower classes.