➳ [Reading] ➶ 100 Selected Poems by e. e. Cummings By E.E. Cummings ➩ – Agedanna.info
I m not sure I was clever enough to understand what EE Cummings had to say in these 100 poems of his Most of them are hardly a page long and very short but like my aversion of short stories there was something in this book of short poems that just didn t click with me I remember opening a Brian Transeaux I think album and reading the following excerpt from a Cumming s poem and being blown away as an 18 year old Deeds cannot dream what dreams can doTime is a tree this life is one leaf But love is the sky, and I am for youJust so long and long enough There were a few other poems which were pretty good but I just really didn t connect with most of the others It s a short book which you could probably rattle out in a few hours. somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyondany experience, your eyes have their silence in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,or which i cannot touch because they are too nearyour slightest look easily will unclose methough i have closed myself as fingers,you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens touching skillfully, mysteriously her first roseor if your wish be to close me, i andmy life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,as when the heart of this flower imaginesthe snow carefully everywhere descending nothing which we are to perceive in this world equalsthe power of your intense fragility whose texturecompels me with the colour of its countries,rendering death and forever with each breathing i do not know what it is about you that closesand opens only something in me understandsthe voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands Because mornings are best served with a slice of poetry. EE Cummings Is Without Question One Of The Major Poets Of This Century, And This Volume, First Published In , Is Indispensable For Every Lover Of Modern Lyrical Verse It Contains One Hundred Of Cummings S Wittiest And Most Profound Poems, Harvested From Thirty Five Of The Most Radically Creative Years In Contemporary American Poetry These Poems Exhibit All The Extraordinary Lyricism, Playfulness, Technical Ingenuity, And Compassion For Which Cummings Is Famous They Demonstrate Beautifully His Extrapolations From Traditional Poetic Structures And His Departures From Them, As Well As The Unique Synthesis Of Lavish Imagery And Acute Artistic Precision That Has Won Him The Adulation And Respect Of Critics And Poetry Lovers Everywhere I find reviewing poetry like reviewing a color If your favorite color is blue, it s hard to explain why it appeals to you Or why blue is better then red Expressing the inarticulable, the ability to convey a sense of something beyond words through words, for me, is the greatness of a poet.I first stumbled across cummings in high school in one of those gloss covered, all encompassing, LITERATURE textbooks that public schools are so fond of And, for whatever reason, e.e cummings has accompanied me since Since my first reading, I find various poems of his serving as signposts throughout my life Now, possibly out of habit, I continually retreat to him whenever facing change.Though certain poems have resonated for one reason or another vibrantly at different times, what consistently comforts me is his sense of freedom Content wise and structurally At first I considered it iconoclastic pretension, but I now find his broken cadence and grammatical structure a welcome vehicle for expressing the asymmetrical emotions that govern I lack the versed depth to critically compare or analyze cummings work As for what it s given me, 5 stars is probably a poor tribute. I opened POETRY month with one that s been on my shelf for awhile 100 Selected Poems was my first full length collection by Cummings, the well known 20th century American poet I enjoyed his form and syntax play, with a variety of themes nature, erotica, religious, to everyday observational. My first Cummings book it cost me 1.95 many years ago and still my favorite There are so many poems in here which I think are good poems The general critical consensus seems to be that Cummings was second rate Well, for me, he is engaging than many poets that others fawn over He was an accomplished sonneteer, though you might not recognize all his sonnets for what they are at first, due to his experiments with orthography He was a fine erotic poet, and an effective political satirist He had variety He didn t write poem after poem that sounded like the same monotonous droning of Portentous Hush Also, he made his living entirely through his writing, except for one brief stint as a guest professor at Harvard Unlike many poets of today, academia was not his ambition Perhaps that s one of the reasons he s not placed higher in the pantheon. As I finished this slim book, I puzzled over how to best explain how it makes me feel I got this image in my head If I were stranded on a deserted island and allowed to take one book with me, this book would be in my top five of final, possible picks If I picked this book to take with me, when someone found me ten years later, I would still be puzzling over some of the meaning of the poems I would still be kept comfortably happy, sad, shy, engaged, and peaceful by the texture, the emotion of these poems I would still be engaging with and dissecting these 100 poems I would have been driven quite insane in those ten years by these poems.Another inroad When I read poetry, I have a tendency to rate the poems on the fly with little stars in the margins This allows me to skim back through a volume later and to immediately find something that engaged me before There are dozens and dozens of six, seven, and eight star rating scattered throughout this book My scale used to go only to five.I think I have sufficiently explained how this volume makes me feel Yet I haven t said a word about the poems themselves What s left to say They do all that poetry should do they will challenge you intellectually, emotionally, and at many levels of language They ask you deep philosophical questions, and then they shift gears into soaring emotions They beg you to parse them one way, then cleverly show you another way to read each sentence even as you try to mark out your thoughts The poems lend themselves to conversation, to analysis, and they will reward you over and over.As I ve done with a few other reviews at this point, I ll share something that I liked best from the book I won t type out the entire poem, but the first part of this one has a nice image that I think sells cummings well From 95i thank You God for most this amazingday for the leaping greenly spirits of treesand a blue true dream of sky and for everythingwhich is natural which is infinite which is yes Ever since my modern literature class in college, I ve kind of had a thing against Cummings I hated his style As a grammar nazi, it completely confused me When the professor suggested that we read the poems aloud, I scoffed I loved poetry and I never had to read it aloud before so why should I now However, that professor was correct.When I came across this book on one of my lists, I told myself that I could suffer through just 100 poems I didn t suffer through them at all, though It was poem 3 that hooked me when god lets my body be From each brave eye shall sprout a tree I read it through once I read it through twice I waited for my boyfriend to get home from work and read it to him I loved it It perfectly expressed something that I had been thinking about for a while I felt validated.After that, I started writing down first lines of poems I liked but there were too many.How could I have been so very wrong If you want to experience a poet dance, pick up ee cummings.If you are youth and want some slogans on your t shirt or screen, pick up ee cummings.If you ve forgotten what youth was, pick up ee cummings.If you orgasm often occasionally, pick up ee cummings.If you re into the jazz of language, linguistic acrobatics, pick up ee cummings.If you ve ever loved or still do, pick up ee cummings.If you ve never loved or don t love any, pick up ee cummings.If you crave for both unexplored and familiar, pick up ee cummings.If you believe, that poetry is as close to music as literature can get, pick up ee cummings.If you re warming up to poetry, but didn t find the one to completely worship yet, pick up ee cummings.And if you want shortcuts, read this magnificent breadcrumb of advice, it might save you since feeling is firstwho pays any attentionto the syntax of thingswill never wholly kiss you. For some reason, I had never rated E E Cummings He became the icon for form twisting poetry, with his name written in lower case reflecting the way his poems used and abused typography, grammar, and punctuation I m a symbol manipulating machine, it s why I m a computer programmer and why I love to read But I manipulate symbols within rules, and I love rules I loved learning the rules of punctuation and spelling and grammar Knowledge is power, it let me sort the world into right and wrong and to put myself on the right side.Cummings, of course, broke the rules It irritated me in the same way that Apple products irritate me today it s deliberately broken It could have be done right, but someone chose not to For this reason I didn t even look at his poems I love Auden, his cheek and poignancy, but he stayed well within my tolerance for linguistic deviancy.Then a friend pressed this book into my hand Actually, she pressed two and then opened them up and showed me a dog eared page and said something absolutely filthy I mean, how do you not get over your prejudices and read the books It s been magnificent Consequently, if you re a serious Cummings fan then you re not going to be able to learn much from this review it s my first dip into his work, and of course I have the heady dizziness of the newly in love I don t have a lot of critical distinction yet, I m high because something this wonderful simply exists.My friend said she doesn t try to make sense of the poems she bathes in the poems, stands up, and a few droplets of glistening prose stay on her skin and it s those that she takes with her Cummings is easy to do this with his style is deliberately translucent neither opaque nor transparent but almost every poem has some bright metaphors or clear lines that ring like crystal.I can bathe and come out dripping in sweet lines too, but my brain is attuned to symbol manipulation I also try to apart the poems to decode their meaning I want to know why there s a wrong parenthesis, why there are blank lines, why this sentence makes no sense I discovered, to my surprise, that I love it I find it like cryptic crosswords I m not good, but I enjoy the process of teasing order from apparent disorder and discovering the concealed intent.I probably should have read Wikipedia and a bunch of Cliffs Notes to see whether I m right , but one of the few consolations of age for me is confidence I m going to tell you how I approach Cummings and how I see his work I ll be interested to read later and learn other approaches, but for now here s how I see it.Cummings wants you to work on his poems reading not a passive act, jolly good, yes, that s exactly what a summer s day is like He ll use a seeming stream of consciousness where you have to put yourself into someone else s mind in order to understand what that stream of words means In one poem it seemed like he took a line of poetry and then put even numbered words on one line and odd numbered words on the next line You can t skim read, you have to stop and frown and think The metaphor is paying attention , and Cummings has a high price But he delivers great value.The violated punctuation and blank lines and runtogether words are not random For me it is as though you re often in the head of the narrator, someone who isn t composing a formal poem but you re getting a wash of thought, a stream of impressions and reflections Sometimes those thoughts are crystal clear, sometimes they re jumbled and parenthetical and confused and contradictory So parentheses and blank lines are pauses, indicating nested clauses or thoughts, but this raw gush of impressions doesn t permit the conscious structuring of those thoughts They re almost pacing indicators When I read the poem out loud, I can figure out the structure of the sentences.But reviews don t lend themselves to the slow unwinding of intricate puzzles If I want to convince you to read these poems, and I do, then I won t do it by explaining how I read them Cummings soundbites are those glistening lines that shine from each poem, the ones that it you with such force that you reel back and blink, wondering where did that come from Sometimes they re startling metaphors, sometimes they re just beautifully rhythmic statements that capture something essential the bulge and nuzzle of the sea As someone who grew up on and near the ocean, I love this description the world is mud licious and puddle wonderful Beautifully captures the delight kids and some big kids take in winter o sweet spontaneous earth how often have the doting fingers of prurient philosophers pinched and poked thee, has the naughty thumb of science prodded thy beauty Love the image of the earth as a baby, cheeks pinched by the aunty philosophers The last line is great too science, philosophers, religion all assault the earth in various ways but then the majestic earth answerest them only with spring Nature is the reality, regardless of the stories and officious poking of people how do you like your blue eyed boy Mister Death Comes at the end of a reminiscence on how impressive Buffalo Bill Cody was with horses and guns I m not quite sure how to read the question how do you like your blue eyed boy there s an element of challenge in it, and the juxtaposition of blue eyed boy and Mister Death is so startling The Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds I know that type of unmarried older woman, busy with projects The last bit is a cracker, too the Cambridge ladies do not care, above Cambridge if sometimes in its box of sky lavender and cornerless, the moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy.It May Not Always Be So is a beautiful sad statement if you find someone else, I ll give you my blessing but still be sad The last line, revealing the hidden sadness Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird sing terribly afar in the lost lands here is little Effie s head whose brains are made of gingerbread Spring is like a perhaps hand Example of how you have to reread to find the intonation that makes sense perhaps here is the hesitating, parenthetical, cautious perhaps The story of the poem works too that Spring happens slowly, changing things slowly as we look, not breaking anything.I like my body when it is with your body is sublimely erotic It captures that new sex feeling, the way someone else can make you feel better about your body can even make your body surprise you Best line the shocking fuzz of your electric fur narrowly beating out eyes big love crumbs.Humanity i love you is so sharp, acid, pointed, barbed, and sour that I love it all No favourite line, but forever making poems in the lap of death is a beauty.Nobody loses all the time is delightful, simple, accessible Give this to someone you want to show the humorous side of Cummings to a pretty girl who naked is is worth a million statues My sentiments exactly She being Brand new is a sly and dirty automobile parable for nookie I read and reread this, in love with the smut that isn t the internalexpanding externalcontracting brakes ftw.A man who had fallen among thieves is all worldly vomit, thieves, citizens, pastures and then the last line i put him all into my arms and staggered banged with terror through a million billion trillion stars We are all staggering banged with terror through a million billion trillion stars.Voices to voices, lip to lip make me cackle out loud at bring on your fireworks,which are a mixed splendor of piston and of pistil very well provided an instant may be fixed so that it will not rub,like any other pastel I loved pistil, piston, and pastel Disappointed he didn t work pistol in there too.next to of course god america captures the meaningless incoherence of cliches It reminds me of pop art, assembling a new unfamiliar statement from other people s narrow familiar works.my sweet old etcetera I had already seen at university, but forgotten This makes me laugh every time I m grinning as I write this, just remembering the poem Definitely one of my favourites, the absent minded narrator and the solid last line are great.In spite of everything seems like a sad person saying goodbye to a dead lover kiss the pillow, dear, where our heads lived and were.since feeling is first mixes linguistic terms syntax, paragraph, parenthesis with love to contrast feeling and thinking kisses are a better fate than wisdom is good, as is lady i swear by all flowersand I recognize laugh, leaning back in my arms.If I have made my lady intricate is such a self effacing speaker, it s hard for me not to identify Beautiful lines intricate imperfect various things and songs less firm than your body s whitest song and who are so perfectly alive It s hard not to feel romantic reading some of his poems, and this is one of the evocative for me.A clown s smirk in the skull of a baboon has a great refrain i have never loved you dear as i love you now Some great lines conveying the meaningless of life without the special other i am a birdcage without any bird, a collar looking for a dog,a kiss without lips a prayer lacking any knees.If i love you has a great line mind carefully luminous with innumerable gnomes somewhere I have never travelled paints the delicacy of affection you open always petal by petal myself as Spring open and nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility and the perplexing but hypnotic nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands.but if a living dance upon dead minds has two nice phrases the trivial labelling of punctual brains and Who wields a poem huger than the grave May i feel said he is another saucy poem, a cheeky parenthesis filled act from foreplay to consummation I love that it acknowledges the I m holding back, but it s close to being out of my control negotiation He says, hoping it s not just him reading into the poem Conceive a man no link, sorry has the great line dark beginnings are his luminous ends.Love s function is to fabricate unknownness catches the wonderful stage of love, how you re passionately curious about the other person and how the decline of curiosity tracks the decline of love known being wishless but love,all of wishing.Death having lost put on his universe is a captivating first line The universe as Death s raincoat is an enchanting image The last lines are sing song sweet and boys and girls have whispered thus and so and girls with boys to bed will go.Of Ever Ever Land I speak has and Ever Ever Land is a place that s measured and safe and known where it s lucky to be unlucky and the hitler lies down with the cohn which cracked me up, and ends with for a bad cigar is a woman but a gland is only a gland This little bride groom describes a wedding cake, and ends with the jarring everything is protected by cellophane against anything because nothing really exists May my heart always be open to little birds who are the secret of living is a short and sweet love poem, with the fabulous may my mind stroll about hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple Amen You shall above all things has a killer last night, oft quoted instead of the subtly lovely Girlboys may nothing than boygirls need i can entirely her only love The last lines I d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.Red rag and pink flag is a short childlike poem with the fabulous description of drunken munters strut mince and stink brag have all come to town I think of that when I walk past the human effluvia dribbling out of bars on Courtenay Place.a pretty a day is unremarkable but for a doer a wooer which reminds me of Steve Miller Band s I m a joker I m a smoker I m a midnight toker.As freedom is a breakfastfood has the euphonious molehills are from mountains made and breasts will be breasts and thighs will be thighs deeds cannot dream what dreams can do.A politician is an arse on which everyone has sat, except a man one s not half two It s two are halves of one is a great summary of a relationship To start, to hesitate, to stop introduces seemingly random letters in this happy swelling poem I read it, and frowned, realized there was a word in the letters, and came up with THADE, HEATD, before realizing eventually DEATH A great example of the cryptic crossword made you work aspect of Cummings But only worth it because the raw input and the shiny lines and the clever juxtaposition are all there I doubt many other poets could make me work and keep me happy at the same time.Now all the fingers of this tree has the line now you are and i am now and we re a mystery which will never happen again which beautifully captures my simple awe at being alive Luminous tendril of celestial wish again hits me where I m awestruck that I m in love with someone so beautiful, who is made from stardust.