Fragments

Richard S. Kennedy: On "next to of course god america i"

[The poem contains] a new satirical device...namely the use of allusive quotations or fragments of quotations, a technique that he learned from T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.  But unlike Eliot or Pound he does not employ this technique for general cultural criticism, rather, he aims to produce real laughter by ridiculing his subjects.  In [this poem], carefully worked out in sonnet form, he pillories a Fourth-of-July speechmaker by choosing patriotic and religious cliches common to platform oratory and compressing fragments of them together in order to demonstrate by this jumble the meaningless emptiness that these appeals have....

from Richard S. Kennedy, E. E. Cummings Revisited (New York: Twayne, 1994): 71.