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2.5 She being Brand

This is a recording, by the actor John Sterland, of e e cummings' poem which you studied in Section 2.2.

She being Brand

Timing: 0 hours 30 minutes

Click below to Listen to the reading of this poem and note the tension between the way it is read and the way it is laid out and punctuated on the page. Does listening to the reading while you look at the poem enhance your appreciation of the artistic effects?

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Transcript: she being Brand

John Sterland:
-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 Rightoh 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 (it was the first ride and believe i we was happy to see how nice she acted right up to the last minute coming back down by the Public Gardens i slammed on the internalexpanding & externalcontracting brakes Bothatonce and brought allof her tremB -ling to a:dead. stand- ;Still)
End transcript: she being Brand
she being Brand
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Answer

Your reaction will, of course, be personal to you. For me, hearing the poem read aloud whilst trying to follow it on the page was quite a shock. It certainly underlined the way the layout and punctuation makes the poem ‘strange’ in Formalist terms. It made me think more carefully about the way the language works and the effect on the meaning of the punctuation and line breaks.

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