Byron's Babbles

Feel And Become Real

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-9-51-41-pmI was exposed today to an essay by E. E. Cummings entitled “A Poet’s Advice” that really caused me to reflect on the understanding of what it means to feel and be real. This essay teaches us to reason and act only on the basis of direct personal experience. Cummings wanted to be a poet from childhood and wrote poetry daily from the age of 8 to 22, exploring assorted forms. He went to Harvard University and developed an interest in modern poetry which ignored conventional grammar and syntax, aiming for a dynamic use of language. Here is the essay:

A Poet's Advice
A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words. 
This may sound easy, but it isn't. 
A lot of people think or believe or know they feel -- but that's thinking or 
believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling -- not knowing or believing or 
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being 
can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, 
you're a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself. 
To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make 
you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; 
and never stop fighting. 
As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder 
than anybody who isn't a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as 
easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the 
time - and whenever we do it, we are not poets. 
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you 
find you've written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed. 
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something 
easy, like learning how to blow up the world -- unless you're not only willing, but glad, 
to feel and work and fight till you die. 
Does this sound dismal? It isn't. 
It's the most wonderful life on earth. 
Or so I feel. 
~ E.E. Cummings

The poet E. E. Cummings advised students in this essay that the most important piece of advice he can give is to “learn how to feel.” He says that any old person can learn to think or to know. He implies that “thinking” and “knowing” do not make a person unique because what we think we know is nothing more than what other people think and know. If you learn how to feel, that is real — the rest is phony.

In this essay Cummings also taught us that it is really hard to learn how to feel, and that anyone can learn how to know or believe. Learning how to know and believe is just copying the ideas of others. Those of us that can learn to feel, however, are unique because our feelings are what sets us apart from others. Our feelings are uniquely ours, not someone  else.


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