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E E Cummings on The Quantum Irish Goodbye

E E Cummings on The Quantum Irish Goodbye

pity this busy monster, manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim (death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness
--- electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange; lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born --- pity poor flesh and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical
ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go

e e cummings

I made my first foray into illustrating my favorite literary passages about 12½ years ago (what???), and the first few designs were drawn from my mother’s old modernist and beat poetry paperbacks. I had been raised on a steady diet of Cummings, Eliot, Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, Plath, Sexton, and all those naughty rebels. As a teen, I loved their mix of being countercultural and inscrutable, and was fascinated with provocations like the above “A world of made, is not a world of born.”

So was my mother. At 22, she had created her own visual ode to the writing she adored, in her own medium of calligraphy. This is one of her pieces, featuring a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti from A Coney Island of the Mind:

It’s a gorgeous piece of art, isn’t it? As a kid, I was especially intrigued by hand-lettered justified text. If you inspect it, you’ll see that she broke up the words wherever the letters reached the end of the line. That was an early lesson in creative problem-solving and how good art always has an element of rule-breaking to it. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more of her pieces, I’m happy to share.

Of all of the poets to which she first introduced me, e e cummings was my favorite. His sense of borderless play with language was a natural fit for a young mind, and his subversion, irony and cultural critiques still appeal to me to this day.

Here are two other early designs. Remember these guys? We haven’t had any of these available for many years now, and recently came upon a small stack of old stock of all three prints.

All three are included in our latest mystery pack, which also contains a book and a pocket notebook making it quite the value, as well as…dare I say…a collector’s item? We only have about 15 still available over here (Winter Mystery Pack), so grab one while you can!

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