A Tribute Written For One of My Favorite Poets (That Is Not a Beau Présent)


You may be familiar with my series of beau présents recently written as tributes to my favorite poets that I have been posting on this blog lately. Well, the poem I am posting today is not part of that series; it is definitely not a beau présent, anf not actually in any specific poetry form per se (though it  was certainly written in a style meant to emulate the poet I was attempting to honor: E. E. Cummings). The following poem was written over 20 years ago when Peter Mancevice, the publisher of a local poetry journal called Sahara, approached poets in the Worcester, MA area (including myself), asking them to write and submit poems about their favourite poets and the reasons why they liked them for a planned special issue. Apparently there wasn’t a sufficient amount of submissions, and this special edition of the journal never came to fruition. However, Peter did graciously end up publishing my response to his request in their Spring/Summer 2001 issue.  I must note that my poem was first written with very unusual spacing and line breaks in an attempt to imitate Cummings, but unfortunately I found WordPress is unable to preserve the original typography, thus the version you will be reading here has more conventional spacing and lines. Also the first and last lines intentionally reference two of my favorite Cummings’ poems : i like my body when its with your body and somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond.

Here is my poem (I hope you will enjoy it):

why i like reading e. e. cummings

i like my mind when it’s with his mind,
stumbling, sprinting, gliding across a page,
leap-frogging over careening commas,
side-swiping semi-colons; slamming
into unexpected periods. i like zag-zigging
thru an obstacle (of) course of typography
of cntrctng e x p a n d i n g new-ly cooly minted
words scattered splattered here there everywhere –
comprehension slowly sure-ly shifting
from singular difficulty to double “e”s.

nobody, not even an optician from lilliput
clutching his tiny eye chart, has such small “i”s.

—Paul Szlosek

24 thoughts on “A Tribute Written For One of My Favorite Poets (That Is Not a Beau Présent)

  1. A great poem, Paul! I think you captured the form and feel of Cumming’s work beautifully in this ode. Quirky and unexpected with just a hint of whimsy and wit. Well written!


  2. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is Paul Szlosek of Paul’s Poetry Playground. Paul is a first-order poetry aficionado (he even looks like a poet). A past recipient of the Jacob Knight Award for Poetry, his work has appeared in numerous publications. He’s also studies, teaches and quotes other poets, and invents new poetic forms.

    This tribute to e. e. cummings (one of my favorite poets, as well) is absolutely spot-on and delightful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Joseph! That is so kind of you. I wish I was able to figure out how I could preserve the original spacing of the poem on WordPress, but each time I tried, It would not work…

      Liked by 1 person

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