From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Reef has penned an engaging and informative chronicle of the life of this talented and unconventional artist. Each chapter is packed with details of cummings's life and work, all carefully documented with source notes. Period photos and reproductions, including a number of cummings's drawings and paintings, illustrate his life and the world events that he experienced. His unique poetic style is explained and illustrated with well-chosen selections. His financial hardships as well as his romantic struggles and failed relationships are also examined. An excellent resource for students of the poet's literary works, this is also a solid example of literary biography, and as such should also appeal to readers interested in the lives of noteworthy artists. A high-quality effort.—Elaine Fort Weischedel, Milton Public Library, MA
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*Starred Review* Many teens have studied and liked at least a few of Cummings' poems, so this thoroughly researched survey of Cummings' life is sure to generate interest in the classroom and beyond. Reef chooses revealing anecdotes from the poet's youth that will speak directly to teens. After Cummings passed from confident child to awkward teen, Reef notes that he "was so self-conscious about his acne that he hid his face behind a newspaper when riding on streetcars." Numerous direct quotes from Cummings, his family, and his friends, along with many photos personalize the story, and Reef's enthusiasm for poetry is clear in her well-chosen excerpts from Cummings' poems and those of his contemporaries. She also skillfully places the poet within a larger cultural context, showing connections between his poetry and interests and the artistic and political movements of his times. Unfortunately, source notes refer only to direct quotes, but an extensive bibliography, a list of Cummings' works, and a glossary will aid researchers. A clear, engaging portrait of a poet whose refusal to write and live according to convention will endear him to teens. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved