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POEM OF THE DAY -- "picasso" by e.e. cummings

eNothing followers (the blog here or on twitter) know that we love e.e. cummings work (or any art/photography/music that is unconventional).  Cummings was an innovator, and avante garde painter of words, experimenting with words or parts of words, scattering them across the page like a canvas, spraying punctuation marks around, and basically bucking convention for the sake of creativity.

His unique style and departure from (poetic) tradition are traits that defined e.e. cummings; and so it was with Pablo Picasso -- who was greatly admired by cummings.- who was fortunate enough to spend time with Picasso during his sojourns to Paris in the 1920's and 1930's.

And so here is one of cummings poems honoring the surrealistic master.


by e.e. cummings

you give us things
bulge:grunting lungs pumped full of sharp thick mind

you make us shrill
presents always
shut in the sumptuous screech of

(out of the
black unbunged
Something gushes vaguely a squeak of planes

between squeals of
Nothing grabbed with circular shrieking tightness
solid screams whispers.)
Lumberman of the Distinct

your brain's
axe only chops hugest inherent
Trees of Ego,from
whose living and biggest

bodies lopped
of every

you hew form truly



  1. I just taught this poem to my 8th grade class.

  2. when did he meet picasso??????

  3. ee cummings spent a good portion of time, in his formative years, in Paris. First, he spent a number of months there waiting for his assignment in WWI (ambulance guy). But he went back to Paris numerous times between 1920 and 1930, spending time with the founders of the surrealist movement (Breton, Eluard, Dali and yes, Pablo Picasso).

    Although not a surrealist, it makes you wonder at what level did that amazing movement affect cummings.

    I suppose it doesn't matter; we're all influenced by everything, whether we know it, admit it, or even like it or not!

    Thanks for the comment, Anonymous

  4. I don't understand the second stanza, what does "presents always" refer to?

  5. presents could mean "gifts" - so you would "give a present," but the poet has swapped this out for "make gifts." OR It could mean "present" as in "this moment." This would possibly indicate that Picasso creates new realities.

  6. eNothing, Picasso isn't really considered a surrealist, incidentally. They (Magritte, di Chirico, Dali) tend to play with recognisable reality, whereas Picasso created his own. Hope you will forgive my pedanticism.