Posts Tagged ‘cubism’

E.E. Cummings Month: “Buffalo Bill’s”

August 2, 2010


Buffalo Bill’s
defunct
             who used to
              ride a watersmooth-silver
                                                          stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
                                                                                     Jesus
he was a handsome man
                                          and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

(E.E. Cummings, “Buffalo Bill’s,” 1920.)


via

Well, how do you, Mr. Death.

This is one of several Cummings poems first published in The Dial in 1920. A very early example of his fascination with unusual forms, “Buffalo Bill’s” use of whitespace in the poem is in part influenced by Pablo Picasso, who Cummings met in Paris after serving time in France on a trumped up charge of being a spy during the Great War (total folklore — he was a volunteer ambulance driver and was guilty of nothing more than being an outspoken critic of war, violence, and suffering in general). Cummings was also a painter and was inspired by Picasso’s formalistic experiments in cubism: he carried the philosophy forward in to his writing as well.