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E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962 (1994)
von E. E. Cummings
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Man, what's to say about e.e. cummings poetry? It's simply one-of-a-kind. I feel like the closest you get to it is James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and yet those are two wildly different beasts. The poet followed a path so many poets took, starting out at his strongest and then at different rates growing less and less sharp. Though this is almost never an absolute curvature, it does show in the trend. The difference in quality is most notable when the main part of the book ends (the poems published in collections presented in their entirety) and the uncollected poems start. The uncollected poems, like the collected poems, follow a chronological order until you reach the appendices which contain juvenilia that I can almost guarantee e.e. cummings didn't want to see the light of day. In fact, the uncollected poems contain perhaps some of the greatest verse in the book.
In terms of technique, cummings plays with type, line breaks, and even forces you to sound out the words piece by piece- often leading you to sound things out incorrectly before the word is completed. The creativity at first seems to suggest expansive possibilities but as I said before, somewhere along the line he got less inspired and for whatever reason it wasn't words that failed him but the tricks. Just kidding. It was the words, too.
Someone told me e.e. cummings was a genius. It might be a little bit hard to see that in the main experimental material in this book, but if you flip over to the appendices and read what he was writing at Harvard, the poems do show a great deal of technical acumen. I think to him, though, it was clear that he had to pursue a more original direction. None of that material is classic, per say, but it does show a considerable mind at work.
For every 25 poems I read, only one would really stir me. My 2 stars aren't a reflection of his poetry but my ability to enjoy. For the most part his kind of poetry is not the kind I wish to read.
Great poet. Favorite poem is "i carry your heart'.
Lack of proper punctuation/capitalization.
Rhyming, metaphors, similes.
who knew? cummings writes some of the sexiest love poems around. move over Barry White. No. seriously. Move OVER.
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This centennial edition of E.E. Cummings's Complete Poems, published in celebration of his birth on October 14, 1894, contains all of the poems published or designated for publication by the poet in his lifetime, including thirty-six poems that were first collected in the 1991 edition and 164 unpublished poems issued in 1983 under the title Etcetera. At the time of his death in 1962 E.E. Cummings was, next to Robert Frost, the most widely read poet in America. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he lived most of his life in Greenwich Village and in Madison, New Hampshire, where he died in 1962. His imprisonment in a French detention center during World War I, which inspired his novel The Enormous Room, and his visit to Stalinist Russia in 1931, described in his EIMI, punctuated a career devoted entirely to his two passions of poetry and painting. Combining Thoreau's controlled belligerence with the brash abandon of an uninhibited Bohemian, Cummings, together with Pound, Eliot, and William Carlos Williams, helped bring about the twentieth-century revolution in literary expression. He is recognized on the one hand as the author of some of the most beautiful lyric poems written in the English language, and on the other as one of the most inventive American poets of his time - in the words of Richard Kostelanetz, "the major American poet of the middle-twentieth-century."
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)811.52 — Literature English (North America) American poetry 20th Century 1900-1945
Klassifikation der Library of Congress [LCC] (USA)
Eine Ausgabe dieses Buches wurde W.W. Norton herausgegeben.
Cummings is confirmed as one of my favourite lyric poets, though, given his mature style, one can't really imagine singing a lot of them successfully. Technical aspects of his work have been much discussed; typographical and punctuational elements became as important as the words. Thematically, love and sex, nature and contemporary society all feature prominently.
I note down page references for particular favourites in poetry books as I read them. The number of such I noted for this book was very large even when compared to books of similar size. Cummings had immense expressive power and is not merely a showy poet reliant on "superficial" effects. Strongly recommended. ( )