Of all the possibilities of visual patterns in this

Of all literary genres known to mankind, poetry is
one form that has an unclear distinction, standard, and structure. Indeed, 21st
century literature is replete with evidences of deviation from the usual form
of language – or poetic license as they put it. Many poets are going interested
in linguistic experimentation in which syntax, lexis, capitalization, and
punctuation are deemed to be unconventional and unique. Speaking of deviation of the norm, Edward Estlin
Cummings, or often stylized as e.e. cummings, is quite the pioneer of an
avant-garde poetry, especially how he writes his poems in a peculiar and
unusual fashion.

            With
the rise of stylistic analysis in literature, the works of e.e. cummings are
being put into the limelight wherein readers and critics can view his poetry
into a linguistic perspective and how looking into its form would reveal a new
meaning and interpretation. This paper would look into the poem mOOn Over tOwns mOOn (1935) and will be
analyzed in terms of linguistic deviations in two levels (graphological, and lexical
levels). Likewise, peculiarities in grammar, and syntax will also looked into
the poem correspondingly.

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            In
analyzing Cummings’ poems’ it’s graphology is the easiest to identify, since it
is in the most superficial level of linguistic deviation (Li & Shi, 2015). In the poem,
spacing, punctuation, uppercase and lowercase letters, line divisions and
breaks are styled unusually. These purposeful idiosyncrasies have effectively
employed all the possibilities of visual patterns in this poem. Take for
example, of all the letters in the poem, the letter ‘O’ seemed to appear 18
times (11 times capitalized, 7 times decapitalized). Given much emphasis to the
letter ‘O’, the reader is left to assume that the letter ‘O is the
symbolization of the moon. In the first two stanzas, the letter ‘O’ is in
uppercase – it can suggest a magnification or emphasis of the moon, showing the
fullness and roundness of the moon hanging high and watching over the towns.
Additionally, the capitalized ‘O’ may also imply wide-open eyes and mouths of
the townspeople that reveals their excitement, eagerness, and anticipation at
the sight of the moon. On the other hand, it can be seen on the last stanza the
decapitalization of the letter ‘O’ while the other letters are in uppercase.
This may indicate that in the latter part of the poem, the previously excited
townspeople lost its interest while looking at the moon, and turning into a
blind eye to the beauty the heaven has to offer to them. This meaningful
scattering of small and capital letters on the poem is only one of Cummings’
usual typographical oddities. He used letters to effectively employ all the
possibilities of visual patterns, especially in this poem.

            In
relation to words and lexicon, it is observable that this poem consists of his
infamous neologisms and lexical coinages, through affixation such as
‘gropingness’ and ‘dreamest’. The addition of the suffixes –ness (noun suffix
to express a state, condition, quality, or degree) and –est (adjective or
adverb suffix used to form the superlative degree) intend to imply newly-formed
concepts on searching for something by reaching (groping) or visualizing
something in its extreme (dream). These neologisms help in evoking the visual
imagery in the readers’ minds. Furthermore, it is also manifested in the first
and second stanzas of the poem, its second line is always a verb – ‘whisper’
and ‘float’. The use of these verbs also imply to describe the moon – ‘whisper’
can be a personification of the moonlight, a silent connection between the moon
and the man, while ‘float’ can be used to describe the position of the moon in
the sky. These verbs indeed are used wisely in the poem to induce an image of
the moon.

            As
far as grammar and syntax is concerned, the poem sacrificed the formal rules of
language. In the second stanza, the second ‘who’ takes an unlikely position in
the sentence as its inclusion is somehow redundant. However, if it was
grammatically correct, the pattern 5-1-5-2 syllabication may have been broken.
Likewise, despite an obvious chaos in grammar and word order, the poem has
effectively commenced an expression of spontaneity and precision.

            Indubitably,
e.e. cummings lived up to his reputation of producing novelty and experimental
poems. Despite this, he has excellently seamed words that maybe peculiar at
first glance, but will incorporate a lot of meaning and imagery. Discerning these
purposeful idiosyncrasies of Cummings’ poetry through stylistic analysis is
somehow an attempt to comprehend his liberties in art, aesthetics, and visual
style, command of vocabulary and remarkable innovation which he enjoys to
reflect his feelings of appreciation of natural beauty, particularly in this
poem.