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Selected Poems Paperback – August 17, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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About the Author

E. E. Cummings (1894–1962) was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. He was also a playwright, a painter, and a writer of prose. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he studied at Harvard University and, during World War I, served with an ambulance corps in France. He spent three months in a French detention camp and subsequently wrote The Enormous Room, a highly acclaimed criticism of World War I. After the war, Cummings returned to the States and published his first collection of poetry, Tulips & Chimneys, which was characterized by his innovative style: pushing the boundaries of language and form while discussing love, nature, and war with sensuousness and glee. He spent the rest of his life painting, writing poetry, and enjoying widespread popularity and success.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright (August 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871401541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871401540
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on April 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This review is from a strictly prose guy, as poetry usually goes right over my head. In my efforts to understand poetry, I have discovered that the work of e.e. cummings breaks through the stylistic barriers that make many people shy away from poetry altogether. cummings' use of bizarre spacing, punctuation, and phrasings keeps the reader away from the "sing-song" routine that tends to damage the credibility of many a poem, and cummings uses the art of style to say many things and make many points in just a few words. The most fascinating aspect of cummings' work is letting the small number of words in a poem really sink in until you gain many insights. This book usefully arranges cummings' most noteworthy poems into categories so you can more easily dwell on his major areas of subject matter. cummings did not live the hard life of many noteworthy poets, so a good number of his poems are musings on abstract concepts like life, love, mythology, and mortality. However, his much sharper observations on war, prostitution, politics, and the dark side of urban life can be truly shocking once you delve into their deeper meanings. Contemplating the title of this review, which is also the first line of the poem on page 181 of this book, will help any poetry-fearing reader to dive into cummings' world.
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Format: Paperback
This selection of around 150 of Cummings more than two- thousand poems contains those I remember from the anthologies, and my guess is most of the other truly memorable ones. Richard Kennedy writes a brief description of the life and work, and prefaces to each of the twelve sections. It is possible from these prefaces to have an overall sense of Cummings life and work. The son of a Unitarian minister brought up in Cambridge Massachussets he would turn out to be one of the great innovators of American poetry. His interest and work in painting greatly influenced the writing, especially its original layout on the page.Cummings famous for the elimination of capital letters, for the odd and original spacing of the poems, for the strong romantic character of the writing, for the strong individualism in life and work was at one time with Robert Frost one of the two most popular poets in America. Many of his lines are powerful and memorable. I think randomly of 'There's a hell of a world next door. Let's go' or 'How do you like your blue- eyed boy now Mr. Death?' or ' No one not even the rain has such small hands' or 'I dream of Olaf glad and big' or 'Pity this poor monster manunkind" Cummings is also known for satirical political poems that I do not know well. A selection of them is also contained in this book. I suppose the poems of his that I find most congenial are romantic ones. Cummings also had a strong affinity for and connection with Nature.
This anthology provides the reader with the best of his work, and is thus a real treasure.
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By Willow on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
After being introduced slightly to e. e. cummings in High School, I was intrigued by his experimental and original style. I bought this book soon after. With a wonderful selection of his amazing poetry, small biographies, and a few of his paintings and drawings, one can tap into the genius that is e. e. cummings. This is the perfect beginners' book to the wonderous world of e. e. cummings.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the badges of culture I acquired when I was an impressionable eighteen-year-old was "The Complete Poems" of E. E. Cummings. I found a few I liked, most notably "Buffalo Bill's / defunct", but for the most part I was bewildered. Cummings was a poetry god at the time (up there with Robert Frost), and the fact that most of his poems did absolutely nothing for me surely had something to do with my general dismissal of poetry for much of my adult life.

Over the past few years, sensing that perhaps I had given poetry short shrift, I have been reading a book of poems every month or so. With a better grounding, I decided to re-visit E. E. Cummings. But my old book of the complete poems from the 1960s was missing from my library shelves, probably appropriated by one of my sons (I wish him well in digesting it). So, in its place, I bought this edition of SELECTED POEMS, edited by Richard S. Kennedy.

There is a lot to be said for it. It includes 155 poems. Editor Kennedy groups and presents them according to subject, roughly construed -- for example, "A Child's World", "Love and Its Mysteries", "The Dimensions of Being Human", "Myths and Allegories", and "Targets of Satire". This approach provided me much easier access to Cummings than slogging through the poems in chronological order. Kennedy introduces each of the twelve sections of the book with a short commentary. Together, the commentaries and the brief Introduction make this SELECTED POEMS an ideal vehicle for getting to know Cummings and his poetry. (Moreover, Kennedy no doubt cherry-picked the poems, such that the 155 included here represent the cream of Cummings's oeuvre.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The cover of this book alone is enough to want to purchase it, and the selection of poems inside is excellent. There are a number of cummings' most recognized poems (e.g. since feeling is first), as well as some of his most erotic (e.g. i like my body when it is with your; she being Brand). Overall, I am very pleased with this purchase, and would strongly recommend this copy to any love of poetry!
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