E. E. Cummings' "Advice"
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This paper discusses how E. E. Cummings, in his essay "A Poet's Advice to Students", advises that the best way to write poetry is to be a poet, and how his most persuasive explanation of what it is to be a poet is his explanation itself. The paper looks at how the perpetual enactment of Cummings' own demonstration of 'pistis' utilizes complex rhetorical strategies, which are artfully veiled by simple words and appealing rhythm to make his 'feeling' accessible to the reader. The paper asserts that, while Cummings' words are characteristically his own, their seeming simplicity echoes Aristotle's observation that the most persuasive art is the appearance of artlessness.
From the Paper:"The title functions to both introduce the ethos, or character, of the speaker and establish the kairos, or occasion, of the text's reception. Ethos refers specifically to the character of the speaker as presented in the text, intended to establish the trustworthiness of the argument's presenter. Here, the title positions the speaker as a 'poet', who is therefore qualified to offer the instruction to follow. By prefacing the text as the 'advice' of an established poet to 'students', the title also serves to construct its own kairos by positioning the reader as one who may be educated by that which is explained. Thus, the title itself performs the rhetorical function of establishing the speaker's trustworthiness while simultaneously engendering receptiveness in the reader. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Aristotle. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Trans. George A. Kennedy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- Corbett, Edward P. J. "Classical Rhetoric." Literary Theory: An Anthology. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2004. Pp. 142-161.
- Cummings, E. E. A Miscellany Revised. Ed. George J. Firmage. New York: October House Inc., 1965.
- Cummings, E. E. Complete Poems 1913-1962. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, Inc., 1972.
- Lanham, Richard. "Tacit Persuasion Patterns." Literary Theory: An Anthology. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2004. Pp. 177-194.
Cite this Article Review:
E. E. Cummings' "Advice" (2008, March 31) Retrieved April 21, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/article-review/e-e-cummings-advice-102731/
"E. E. Cummings' "Advice"" 31 March 2008. Web. 21 April. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/article-review/e-e-cummings-advice-102731/>