Category Archives: Poetry: eecummings and Levine


Phillip Levine’s “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968” and e.e. cummings’ “she being Brand” are two poems that use a car to help illustrate their messages. In Levine’s poem, he uses the names and colors of cars to paint a picture for us “Ford Rouge sulfurs the sun, Cadillac, Lincoln,
Chevy gray.” Being that Detroit is nicknamed the Motor City as it is “recognized as the historic heart of the American automotive industry,” it is fitting that Levine used one of the very things that made the city popular to show the contrast between that positivity and the negativity that came with the race riots in that time. The voice of the poem comes from someone who has to deal with the harsh reality and literal burning of their city every day but also has to continue living life as you can see with the line that reads “One brown child stares and stares into your frozen eyes until the lights change and you go forward to work.” The cars in this poem show the feeling of the time through their colors and also show that you have to keep driving regardless of what’s happening around you. The metaphor of the car in cummings’ poem is just as fiery as he details a new sexual encounter with a woman. The poem explains that he started off way too quickly and when she didn’t react well to what he was doing, he realized he needed to be gentle just as you would be with a real car.

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…

The way in which the poem is written speaks to the awkward reality of the situation. Sometimes cars need to be attended to with utmost care and respect.

Seeing that the two poems are so different but both use cars, it’s a bit hard to know how exactly to illustrate the feeling of what could be seen as hopelessness as well as one of passion. My car is a black 1950s Cadillac which I think is sleek enough to illustrate “she being Brand” and simple enough to illustrate “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968.” I think that even lighting and making the car seem small and far away could work well for Levine’s poem. And for cummings’ poem, possibly lighting from the back to create a silhouette or from a 45 degree angle to emphasize the contrast would work well to give it a sensual feeling.


Both poems, “she being Brand” and “Coming Home, Detroit 1968” describes a man driving though a city. The metaphors used throughout each piece are entirely different in format, tone, and in what they are trying to express to the reader.

The first poem by e.e. cummings describes the experience and the rush of driving his brand, new car for the first time. The poem’s exaggerated composition is also similar to a car in motion and when it comes to a stop. The metaphors used throughout the poem sounds erotic. The driver explains his experience as he’s about to start the car for the first time, “..a little stiff I was careful of her.. my gas felt of her radiator made sure her springs were O.K. Later, he ends the poem describing the climax, “..the internalexpanding & externalcontracting.. brought allofher tremB-ling..” The poem interprets the desire of the first sexual encounter between a man and a chaste woman.

The second poem by Phillip Levine describes a man driving through the city of Detroit during a depressing period. The poem describes the atmosphere of the city and people. The metaphors used throughout the poem sounds sad. The narrator explains the experience of driving home seeing the misery of others, “one brown child stares and stares into your frozen eyes.. The charred faces, the eyes boarded up, the rubble.. we burn this city everyday”. The poem interprets a time in history where Detroit had deadly riots frequent which left property destroyed.



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.



The poem “She Being Brand”  by E.E Cummings and “Coming Home” by Phillip Levine both use the metaphor of  driving . The poem by Cummings uses the metaphor to describe a first sexual experience. He implies that is like driving a brand new car for the first time.”-New ; abd you know consequently a little stiff i was careful of her…”

While in the poem by Levine he uses the metaphor of driving a car to separate him self to the outside world and the chaos happening by being in this car he is able to detach him self from  everything thats going on in Detroit this is shown when he saids “…Stare into your frozen eyes until the lights change and you go forward to work”.


For the E.E Cummings i was thinking about doing more of a dark low light sensual looking imagine. and for the P. Levine i was think about orange light to represent fire and chaos.


In the “She being Brand” poem the author is using a metaphor of testing a car to refer to having a sexual experience with a female who happens to be a virgin. He describes the excitement of having  a new car, however if it’s a extended metaphor of a sexual experience.  In the Coming Home, Detroit, 1968 poem he talks about middle and low class working class, and the setting talks about the American Dream. It shows how the American Dream was a masquerade of false hope. In my opinion it shows how people are blinded by material things and forget about the corruption that we cause on our city everyday. But poem set a mood on the narrator, and our they receive there experience. The “She being Brand” poem talks more about onesself, and the “Near the freeway” talks about as a community of people.


The poem “She being Brand” by e.e. cummings metaphor is sensual. To me the poem is talking about how a person can love so much is car to the point were the driver imagines having sexual thought with it. I think this because I had owned a car, I loved my car that i was so sad the day the engine die and at that point i had to junked. Also the poem makes me think how this person is describing the way he is touching a woman the way he would drive a standard car, relating every piece of the car to a parts of a person’s body.

The poem “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968” by Phillip Levine what a person goes through daily. The poet is describing what he sees or what his daily life is like. I think he is describing the problems that he sees but there is nothing he can’t do about it. I also thinking he is talking about the pollution in the city. The way everyone pollutes and contaminates the environment with their cars.

My idea for the shoot is having a nice shiny car with bright lighting and the other one a bit up car maybe with smoke in the background and dark lighting.


In the first poet , “She being Brand” by Ee Cummings is about a man and girl having sex for the first time. The author uses metaphor of riding a car to explain how it was nice to ride the city with his partner. The tone of this scene can be during night time.

On the second poet, “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968” by Phillip Levine is about Detroit riot, and how city is burn down. And the author using a metaphor of readers riding a car and passing by the streets and observing whats happening to City of Detroit. It’s like readers isolating themselves from dangers.

For the next class I will bring my small Cadillac toy car. And I will the same setup lighting like todays class.

Comparison ; Coming home Detroit, She being Brand


“she being Brand” this poem was a sexual fantasy of car, the author brings you very in-depth of how the character describes his fantasy within metaphors, he uses phrases such as,  ” I went right to it flooded-to the carburetor cranked her.I touched the accelerator and give her the juice, good.” The desires he as are as if the car is a female and he references these thoughts towards a car, he loves and adores.

In the poem  “Coming Home, Detroit”

He uses metaphors like ” A winter Tuesday, the city pouring fire. We burn this city everyday.”

The both depict a feeling of some sort, the passion/love for the car and the feeling of coming back home to a location that has changed dramatically. Metaphors allow you to understand the important of these topics. Detroit had been messed up and the man had really fantasized the car as if it were a women.

Car Poems

She being brand by e.e cummings and coming Home, Detroit, 1968 by Phillip Levine both had a metaphor of a car but they use it in two different ways. The first poem comes across as creepy and perverse by the way it is read but is using the way a car responds to being driven for the first time as a way to describe sexual experience with a girl that was a virgin possibly. The second poem uses the car quite literally because you can relate to driving around in a car and observing things around you as you drive past them. The car was the guys separation from what was going on around him kind of like a barrier between himself and his surroundings but despite what he sees around him he keeps on moving.

Two ideas i have for these poems is a way to display a car subliminally sexually and show maybe a nice car maybe being projected on with visual imagry


Poems “she being brand” by E.E Cummings and Coming Home, Detroit, 1968″ by Phillip Levine both use driving metaphors to get there message across.

Cummings is describing taking the virginity of a girl while using car parts to describe it. It has a very rough tone with a lot of visual details for example “…i touched the accelerator and gave her the juice. I was thinking of using a dim spot light on the car to give it a serious but romantic feel.

Levine uses a car to walk him through his story mainly to enhance the manufacturing of cars in Detroit where this horrible situation has taking place. He sees everything that is happening while driving through the city and there is nothing he can do about what is going on. “Near the freeway you stop and wonder what came off” this is an example of him being indifferent to the situation and understanding you have to keep going. My idea for a photograph to get the message of this story across is setting a serious light fix and having the car stare into a black backdrop.