Reading Comprehension: E. E. Cummings, selected poems
"O sweet spontaneous"
1. What makes the poet wonder in this poem?
2. What is the poet saying about philosophy, science, and religion in this poem?
3. What is the poet saying about nature in this poem?
"since feeling is first"
1. Why does Cummings have little regard for "syntax" -- for literary form, grammar, spelling, paragraphing, punctuation?
2. What does Cummings hold higher than wisdom? Why?
3. How does Cumming's conception of love affect the way that he writes?
4. Why might Cumming's poetry be humorous, given his understanding of what poetry ought to be?
"the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls"
1. How are the "Cambridge ladies" described in this poem? What are they like as people?
2. What does it mean that they have "comfortable minds"? Is this a good thing? Explain why or why not.
3. What does it mean to live in a "furnished" soul?
"next to of course god america i"
1. What does E. E. Cummings mock in this poem?
2. To what song does this poem allude?
3. What is the relation of speaking to being mute in this poem? What symbolic significance might speech and speechlessness have?