4.0 out of 5 stars
it's always ourselves we find in the enormous room, April 24 2001
Though i would automatically attribute 5 stars to Mr. Cummings collection of the most beautiful words collaborated onto paper in one grouping, i find that the editor in this particular volume lacked the sensibility to categorize Cummings' poetry according to both first *and* last lines, understanding that it is within the last lines that Cummings packs the most emotional weight in his "story telling" verse: "you are my sun, my moon and all my stars," "it's always ourselves we find in the sea," "not even the rain, has such small hands," "brought all of her to a dead stand Still" (among others).
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.
For those unfamiliar with Cummings' poetry, (and i am sure there are few if any that would bother looking up poetry who are) i recommend any reading simply because this man has got it goin' on. He is a passionate lover of life and language. He is a dreamer, an innovator, and quietly seduces your understanding. The true emotion of his work comes not from the meaning of the words, but in the spaces between the letters, the way they slip from the tongue like kisses; The sounds of intense breaths between lines and breaks. And then the words come, and the poem is done, and you are compelled to read again, to learn again, to find yourself again.
Simply put, a book i can read each night like "Illusions" by Richard Bach suggests: i take the book, plop it onto the bed, and read the page onto which it falls (often more than once, simply to feel its full force of intensity).