(((Literary critics))) have applauded the poem “Anybody Lived in a Pretty How Town” by E.E. Cummings. The poem is included in most literary anthologies, spreading confusion from Los Angeles to New York. But what does it mean? And what is a “how” town anyway? For years, I tried to make sense of the poem but was unable to; like so many students (as well as teachers), I was clueless about the meaning.
So today, let’s see if we can make up an E.E. Cumming’s poem. I have three to get the ball rolling…
- Anybody Lived in a Pretty What Village
- Anybody Lived in a Pretty Where City
- Anybody Lived in a Pretty When Ghetto
You get the picture…my titles make no sense. And neither does the Cumming’s one. So why is it applauded then?
To understand the Cumming’s poem (and its modern approach) we need to review the history of 19th-century Europe; i.e. to understand an event, you need the study history that proceeded it. So when we review 19th-century European history, we find the ongoing struggle between a Christian majority and a Jewish minority. No book highlights the struggle better than Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together. The cultural battles of the 19th-century bled into the 20th, and that’s when modernism begins.
What is modernism? Simply put, it’s a Jewish attempt to subvert European culture. The point is obvious when you review the originators of modern art. The Jewish goal was to replace the art of European history (pieces that depicted real-life heroes) with ambiguous structures: i.e. a German soldier on a horse was replaced with a shapeless blob. By doing so, Jews could erase the physical reminders of Christian heroes from Europe. Once these images were scrubbed clean, the Christian majority would become more accepting of a Jewish minority; and in turn, more accepting of its transgressions.
So what does “Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town” mean? Nothing…and that’s the point.
You’re supposed to be confused. You’re supposed to be lost. You’re supposed to be misdirected. It’s an educational red herring, designed to distract you from the history of Christian civilization.
Note that Cummings himself was not Jewish, That being said, he imbibed the cultural sentiments of his time. And in order to become popular, he had to embrace modernism. We can see a similar correlation in America today. If you want to be popular, you have to take a shit on Christian values: i.e. Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc.
What is the purpose of poetry? It should lift you to lofty heights. It’s a wave of pleasure, rolling over your body. It’s the magical power of emotion, brought to life. Poetry is the flower unfolding, the blossom blooming: the beauty of life made available to the world.
Poetry is not E.E. Cummings.
See Related Article: Poetry Review: A Critique on “August 1968” by W.H. Auden
3 thoughts on “What the Hell Does “Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town” Mean?”
It seems to me that if you want to be popular nowadays you have to shit on ALL values, traditions, societal norms, and to shit on anyone else who thinks or says otherwise.
Dr. B…very true. And it looks like Islam is vying to overtake the Western preoccupation of Cultural Marxism – objective systems (even crude ones) always replace nihilistic systems.
Islam will be the replacement to Western value systems unless one of the traditional frameworks (Christianity or Judaism) is asserted.
But who determines popularity? That raises a whole set of interesting questions. In high school, it was the cool kids — the stronger ones, basically. But the liberals are wimps. How did they arise to the highest heights of The System?