Oct. 14, 2002

she being brand new

by E. E. Cummings

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Poem: "she being Brand," by e.e. cummings from 100 Selected Poems (Grove Weidenfield).

she being Brand

she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff I was
careful of her and (having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch (and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell) next
minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg.       ing(my

lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning) just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good

was the first ride and believe I we was
happy to see how nice and acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens I slammed on

breaks Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB
to a:dead.


It's the birthday of Hannah Arendt, born in Hannover, Germany (1906). She wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). When the war criminal Adolf Eichmann was brought to Jersusalem in 1961, Arendt covered the trial for The New Yorker. She expected to find Eichmann the embodiment of pure evil; she discovered, to her surprise, that he was a rather stupid, ordinary man who had done his duty as he saw it. "Evil was not deep, and could not be rooted out," she said, "It was more like a fungus that spread over things." She wrote, "It is far easier to act under conditions of tyranny than to think."

It's the birthday of E(dward) E(stlin) Cummings, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1894). The Enormous Room (1922), an account of three months he spent in military detention in France during World War One where he was an ambulance driver. He wrote poetry for years, subsidized by his parents. It wasn't until the fifties that he won any real popularity; he had been writing for thirty years. He once said, "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart," and "If a poet is anybody, he is somebody to whom things made matter very little-somebody who is obsessed by Making." Once, on his way home from a party with his wife, he discovered that he didn't have enough money for the subway. The party had been in a fancy apartment building, and they were riding in an elevator with a well-dressed gentleman of generous proportions. Cummings held his hat out in front of the man and said in a winning voice, "Sir, would you be interested in stepping on my hat?" The man looked confused, and Cummings added, "It will cost you five dollars." The man, as in a dream, stepped obediently on the hat and paid the fee, and Cummings and his wife went home in a taxi.

It's the birthday of Katherine Mansfield (Beauchamp), born in Wellington, New Zealand (1888). She turned her back on her stodgy middle-class New Zealand upbringing and moved to London, where she published short stories, the most famous of which was The Garden Party, edited a literary journal, and got to know D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, who said Mansfield's stories contained "the only writing I have ever been jealous of."

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