Marvelous Whirlings: E.E. Cummings' Eimi, Louis Aragon, Ezra Pound, and Krazy Kat
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In 1931, poet, painter, individual E.E. Cummings traveled to the USSR. The journal he kept during his travels would be expanded into the book Eimi and published in 1933. Eimi is an ambitious, wild, dense, and experimental work, which blends dizzying linguistic play, highly stylized modernist poetics, and scathing political commentaries of the USSR. As a work cataloging the intersection of modernist artistic ideals and the growing tide of totalitarian political forces during the 1930s, Eimi gains a great deal from contextualization alongside works by Louis Aragon (The Adventures of Telemachus and Le Front Rouge) Ezra Pound (The Cantos), and George Herriman (Krazy Kat). Such contextualization reveals that, in Eimi, Cummings actively resisted the political responses of Aragon and Pound (toward communism and fascism, respectively) rooting his triumphs as an individual artist, which occur throughout the text, within the dynamics of Herriman's Krazy Kat.