e.e. cummings in an ad for Sonic audiobooks

If there’s a non-controversial way to use a classic poem in a commercial, this might be it. The line from cummings (a fragment of #35 from 100 Selected Poems) is read and “un-read” by four very different voices in a way meant to dramatize the variations in a reading voice, unlining the audiobook publisher’s slogan: “Giving literature a personality.” My immediate reaction is, “Wow. There’s a market for audio books of poetry!?” Since the product being advertised here is so close to the poet’s own characteristic production, the use of his words seems entirely appropriate. And freed from the kind of angst evoked by the Levi’s Whitman ads, we can see that in fact the ingredients of a successful short videopoem — simplicity, quirk, surprise — are not too different from the ingredients of a successful television spot.

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