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E. E. Cummings (1894–1962) was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. His many awards included an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Bollingen Prize. Among his many volumes are The Enormous Room and Tulips & Chimneys.
E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. His many awards included an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Bollingen Prize. Among his many volumes are The Enormous Room and Tulips & Chimneys.
I should begin with a disclaimer: though e e cummings is by all the standard measures (prizes, books in print, appearances in anthologies, critical attention) a major poet, he has always seemed to me a distinctly minor one. His major technical innovation, the use of wildly non-standard typography to explore how a poem could be constructed from type which didn't form words in the conventional sense, did have the merit of helping to open up mainstream modernist poetry to this sort of experimentation. But ultimately, I think that technique has proved to be a frill, and I've always felt that cummings most attractive poems were his most conventional -- pieces like "All in green went my love riding" or "My father moved through dooms of love" -- which, while too often tinged with adolescent sentimentality, at their best achieve a charmingly naive romanticism.
E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems in its over 1000 pages includes corrected versions of all cummings' published poems and a significant number of unpublished ones. The only ancillary matter is a one page Editor's Note and an index of first lines: there is no critical or biographical introduction or commentary or footnotes. The book has some physical production flaws surprising in what is clearly intended to be a major scholarly work: in some places for instance the print seems slightly smudged (at least in the copy I am looking at as I write this,) and the bottom margin is uncomfortably narrow, giving a cramped look to pages where a poem runs over to the next page.
At any rate, I would have different recommendations of this book for different audiences. If you are really seriously interested in cummings, you must have it, since it is undoubtedly the current standard complete edition of his verse.Read more ›
The selection is excellent, the font legible for an old person. The copy I received was not perfectly bound. The inside front cover had a bad fold in the paper and there was damage to the underside of about one third of the pages, not enough to warrant the bother of returning the book. It would be a good idaa were the seller to check the quality of the copy sent to the customer. Good price, just not a perfect copy as a bibliophile would prefer. Cummings, brilliant, suprpasses the inadequacies of the printed copy I received. AT 72 one accepts imperfections for thes ake of the content. Caveat emptor. Nice hefty voume! Joseph C. Jacobs
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