Brian Docherty: On "i sing of Olaf glad and big"

Another poem which contrasts institutional thinking with the plight of the individual is ‘i sing of Olaf glad and big’. Again there is a strong rhythm and deftly placed rhyme, employed to make the message clear. Olaf is a principled individual, probably a second-generation Swedish American from the Mid-West farm belt, brought up in the Lutheran church. He is a heroic figure who dies for his beliefs after enduring barbaric treatment, including the ultimate obscenity with red-hot bayonets. American democracy and freedom suffer grievously at the hand of their supposed defendants, ironically described as ‘(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)’, while the pacifist traitor is lauded as ‘more brave than me: more blond than you’. cummings is impartial in his attitude to regimes where correct attitudes are instilled and maintained by force. America and Russia are two faces of the same coin as far as he is concerned.


Title Brian Docherty: On "i sing of Olaf glad and big" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Brian Docherty Criticism Target E. E. Cummings
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 12 Jan 2022
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication American Poetry: The Modernist Ideal
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