What is Poetry: Buffalo Bill By E. Cummings

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What is poetry? That alone is a broad question that allows you to dance in the hands of creativity without dizzying your way to an answer. I suppose you cannot define poetry in simplicity but there are many who have attempted. According to Webster’s Dictionary, poetry has been defined and based as a ‘writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm.’ As neatly and detailed in technicality as this was elaborated as, that alone is not all poetry is. Before defining my own definitions, let’s look at controversial expert opinions on what poetry is. Some poets believe that poetry is the expression and art of emotions and it is defined as having no rules nor barriers to lock down an extension of creativity. Contrary to this, other poets suggest that poetry is all about the rules, regulations and that it must have certain rhythms that must be followed. They believe in rhyming, structures, making sense and even that punctuation can play a part in what poetry truly is. In a nonchalant sense, I define poetry as an idyllic mix within these two controversial thoughts.

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E.E. Cummings states, ‘feeling is first who pays any attention to the syntax of things.’ As apparent to Cummings, poetry is richly based and defined by the emotions and aura that a poem expresses without leaving syntax a role to play. I use this text to explain my definition in his reasoning with his following line of, ‘for life’s not a paragraph and death I think is no parenthesis.’ Although poetry should display emotions and feelings as well as draw a vivid image of ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them.’ Poetry cannot be silenced within these standards alone. I state this touch on the importance of structure. Without specific rules to describe poetry, any expression of emotion can define it. To support originality, the central purpose of poetry is to create imaginations, fantasies, and platforms to voice yourself, but contradicting, poetry is also made for much higher purposes and not for just anyone.

Edward Estlin Cummings’s poem “Buffalo bill” is beyond a prime example to explain my definition of poetry. It bathes in complexity, meaning, creativity, and defies all rules of how a poem should be written. With all of that being said, it still holds itself in regulations of allowing the audience to understand the artist. When analyzing Buffalo Bill, it can introduce itself as a simple piece of art. It appears flippant and excludes further deep thing at first sight. Cumming’s random excuse of space within his writing displayed a run-on effect that shouted for his quench for the right to exercise his freedom of expression. Cummings uses a type of free verse to reflect the vivid nature of the mentioned legend. The poem itself gives its ownership to other poems that carry up their own individualism.

To add on, the title can also be analyzed in identify structures of poetry. As usual, the title can be in reference to a contraction that holds a symbol for Buffalo Bill’s life. This would be an example of a structured poem antic of foreshadowing the topic in which the entire poem plans on surrounding itself with. It can also demonstrate itself to be possessive stating who the poem may be in reference to or who it may belong to, in this case, it would be Bill. Moving on to the body of the poem, as read, the word ‘defunct’ originates as a portmanteau language that resides between endangered extinction and just plain extinction. If you look at the last few lines within the poem, it stretches the somber views of the written work in an initial inscription to Death. With cumminngs dancing within creativity, a branch of rules associating itself with the fundamentals of having a purpose or meaning in poetry is introduced. This fundamental is seen when Cummings makes the poem have beyond a reminiscing aspect to Cowboy Buffalo Bill whose life ended in 1916. It goes beyond the simplicity of a tribute and advocates a life meaning to readers on ethics and the odd natured form of fame.

“Buffalo Bill’s” gives the mood of wistfulness, awkward and playfully. The work engages satire and forms of sentiments. This holds the definitions of poetry in adding emotions and feelings. His Creativty is demonstated and extended within following rules of his complimentary use of word arrangement, and jargon. In all, “Buffalo Bill” defines poetry within its art on its own. It defines it as a limitless demonstration of creativity, yet upholding fundamentals for a reader’s understanding.    

07 July 2022

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