The poems, “she being Brand” by E.E. Cummings and “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968” by Philip Levine are very different. It is true that each poet uses a car as a metaphor, but not in the same ways.

E.E Cummings uses a car to communicate the message that he lost his virginity. Cummings writes about the ways that you would control and maneuver a car to describe his first sexual experience. This is evident through the very first line, “she being Brand new; and you know consequently a little stiff I was careful of her” and later on at the end of the poem, “it was the first ride”.

Phillip Levine’s “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968” is graphic just like E.E. Cummings’s poem; not in a sexual manner but a violent one. Levine’s poem describes the race riot that broke out in Detroit during the late 60’s. Levine describes a scene where everyone is wreaking havoc around him and there is nothing he can do to help the situation, “One brown child stares and stares into our frozen eyes until the lights change and you go forward to work… We burn this city every day.”

I will use my pink toy Cadillac for our next shoot to help communicate the message of each poem. I think setting up the Cadillac against a black background with the car evenly lit as the main focus might be the way to go for “she being Brand”. Or maybe having one portion of the car lit instead of the entire thing making it look as if there is something occurring in one part of the car giving the feeling of privacy and mystery might also work. As for “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968”, I think that I will have the toy car back lit, facing away from the camera going towards an orange light. The orange will represent the burning city and the car inevitably being a part of it.


1 thought on “Poetry

  1. rmichals

    It is funny how without ever using an explicit word the e.e. cummings poem is extremely clear. the experience is awkward but not bad. maybe even successful in the end. The car here is the site of intimacy, experimentation, adventure. In Coming Home, Detroit, 1968, I don’t think it is directly violent. Certain violence has been done both in the form of industrial pollution and social injustice that leads to rioting. The poem witnesses the aftermath. There is certainly despair in the words.


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