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Branching Out New Orleans: Mark Doty on E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings accomplished the rarest of balancing acts: He managed to be both a deeply committed experimentalist and a very popular poet. How does a writer manage to be an innovator, pushing the boundaries of poetic form and content and still connect so powerfully with readers with his serious play? We'll look at the range of Cummings' achievement—his memorable and sensuous love poems, his fierce political satires, his compassionate anatomies of the human situation. It's been said that new technology always influences the writing process, and indeed it's just about impossible to imagine E. E. Cummings without the typewriter, the machine that helped him break words apart and rearrange them in new combinations and collisions, scatter his lines across the page, and—his signature gesture—forget about capital letters.
A joint initiative with the Poetry Society of America, Branching Out: Poetry for the 21st Century is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.