Reissued in honor of cummings's centennial year, this inclusive anthology encompasses all of the poet's works published to date, with the typographical arrangement of the text conforming as close as possible to cummings's specific directions.
We studied that poem for an entire week. It's not a long poem, so we really dug our hands in, studying every piece of punctuation, every line break, and discovering things we didn't know could be discovered in writing. By the time we were through, I knew I couldn't stop. This is what poetry could be. I couldn't believe it. For a little while, I practiced writing my name in all lower-case. And while I knew I couldn't be cummings, I knew I still wanted to hang out with him and maybe be his friend.
To me, the whole point of e.e. cummings' works is to show how throwing logic and syntax out the window can help one rediscover how to truly capture an emotion -- and not just capture it, but to interrogate it and become either its best friend or its arch rival. There is not one word in any of cummings' works that does not have a reason to be there. His lack of cohesion is sometimes confusing. But at the same time, it charms you; and while you do feel the need to read and re-read each poem, you don't do it to analyze it - you do it because it elicits a different response each time you do. cummings hangs on just the right word, even the right letter in a word, and you know how you feel at that exact moment.
cummings looks not only at the definition of a word but the shape of the word to impact his meaning. This makes his style so intense and so pure that, in my mind, no other has come close to duplicating it.
cummings will never be the world's favorite poet, he will never be studied and understood and appreciated the way Yeats, Poe, Frost, Whitman, or any other of the "greats" will. Fine.Read more ›
The poetry of ee cummings is something that most Americans gain exposure to during secondary school (and very rarely in the education of those outside America) -- he is often seen as an acceptable example of one who broke the rules -- rules, the teacher will often hasten to add, which must be mastered before they can be acceptably broken.
Yet this is not what ee cummings would hope had come of his legacy. In reading his poetry in this edition, his prose, his theatrical writings, and his unpublished manuscripts (some of which have been published under the title Etc.), a new vision begins to emerge of a real maverick--not someone who wanted to break the rules, but someone who eschewed the idea of rules so completely that breaking them was beyond the question, for that would have to recognise the value of the rules.
And yet, some rules creep in:
'the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters, unscented shapeless spirited)'
This is a classic example of a cummings sonnet--adhering to rhyme and meter, yet very original.
Or, perhaps not that original. Unfortunately, ee cummings has become a conventional unconventionality. He was a success at being different--at one point only cummings and Frost, New Englanders both, with very different vines growing on the respective sides of their fence, were able to make a living solely from their writing while concentrating on poetry.
This text contains the entirety of the 12 published volumes of poetry cummings produced in his lifetime. In this we find his faith, his politics, his social criticism and his social prejudices, and his ideas of love and desire.Read more ›
It is nice to see his progression of publishing (though the order is not according to when the pieces were written and it seems to me the editor took the easiest way out on this one by ordering it according to each book). While the sections into which Kennedy (see reference in an above review) sorted these fine works was comfortable for those who wanted ease of theme, it would have been a rather magnanamous task for his vast array of published poetry. While often simplistic, the topics of Cummings' concepts can get too complex to fit into neatly fitted packages tied with the bows of universal theme. And while Kennedy was my introduction to more of this man's great work and i grew to love Cummings through him, i found myself liking works that weren't included in Kennedy's collection, and disliking his more experimental works that lacked the emotional punch (and those linguists might feel the contrary). It is cheaper, in the long run, to buy this collection than to collect the many individual publications to get all one's favorites.Read more ›