A Selection of Poems

ISBN: 0156806754
ISBN 13: 9780156806756
By: E.E. Cummings

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Reader's Thoughts

Anthony St. Clair

cummings remains one of my all-time favorite poets. My wife and I even had 2 cummings poems read at our wedding. I come back to this slim volume constantly, and occasionally reread it. The presentation is simple: just the poems, ma'am, just the poems. Poems are organized by the collection in which they originally appeared, with the collection's date. This collection is a great way to revisit some of my favorites ("somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond" and "if i have made,my lady,intricate"), as well as a great way to get to know different poems from all across cummings' vast output.

Danielle Long

I don't really care for poetry and decided to give it another try with Cummings. Alas, I love his poems but I'm still on the fence with poetry in general. Thanks to a college professor who ruined my love for it a few years ago. Maybe I will come around one day.


This collection is organized thematically. Cummings' poems on love, sex, prostitutes, humanity, and urban life are brilliant, as are his famous cubist works. I am not particularly interested in him when he turns into a horror of a mix between Wordsworth and Shelley, or when he's writing mythologically or satirically, as I don't really think these are particularly accomplished, and I think they are certainly his least poetic and beautiful poems. Overall, this collection ought to be on everyone's shelf, but it's not consistently great. But the greatest poems here do what only great literature can.


I got these Selected Poems in hopes this would be an introduction to the best of e. e. cummings, and perhaps therefore more accessible to me -- his poetry is something that, for the most part, I just don't 'get'. That's not to say it isn't very good if you like it/understand it better than I do, it's just not, ultimately, to my taste. This collection of poems is pretty good, however: divided into various themed sections, with a brief introduction/explanation of each one.Have to come to the conclusion, though, that e. e. cummings is a) something of an acquired taste, and/or b) I do like some of his poems, particularly the bright imagery, but it's just not for me.The rating thus reflects my personal feelings, not the technical merit or otherwise.

Henri Black

Always loved ee cummings poetry and glad to be able to read it on my kindle. Wonderful art and use of words and contradictions ("down they forgot as up they grew:). I don't get all of his poems, but enjoy the feelings ("since feelings are first") they evoke.Favorites (not in any particular order): if up's the word and a world grows greener i carry your heart Maggie and Milly and Molly and May Anyone lived in a pretty how town Since feelings are first


I cannot read 'anyone lived in a pretty how town' aloud without crying. I think it's one of the most perfect poems ever written. Everything he wrote in the height of his career in the 30's and 40's is pretty much terrific. It's a shame that he lost it later on and grew cynical and complacent, but I guess he earned it. These are some of my favorite poems to teach, if for nothing other than confounding the students with the diction.


While "anyone lived in a pretty how town" will always be one of my favorite poems, this was my first reading of anything else by EE Cummings. I found some of the poems boring, but the majority were enjoyable. I enjoyed the eroticism & wry humor thrown in with a wink in many poems, and the romantic feeling in others was beautiful. I expected to hate the errant use of grammatical convention, but I found it quite fun mostly. Some of the poems gained new meaning due to the way you were forced to speak them. A solid bedtime reading!


"I'd rather learn from one bird how to singthan teach ten thousand stars how not to dance"I have always been a little intimidated by E. E. Cummings' poetry. Just one look at one of his futuristic experiments with syntax and punctuation was more than enough to convince me that he was too difficult for me to read. But as it turned out it was silly of me to give up on him. I just needed the right guidance to his authorship which this edition happily provided me with. Though I can't claim to understand all of his poems, I have attained a greater and deeper understanding of his writing and themes.Of course some of the poems can only be defined as cryptic; almost equal to the riddles of the Sphinx, and therefore require a tremendous effort and several careful re-readings. But the thing is, when you finally do understand his use of words, parentheses and fragments, you will be completely overwhelmed by the shining, shimmering and bright magnificence of his writing. "time is a tree (this life one leaf)but love is the sky and i am for you just so long and long enough"I have been teary-eyed, breathless and left in a deep trance as I read through these pages. I have been frustrated and puzzled, but in the end I mostly felt grateful. Grateful that I made the effort and took the time to let the words speak for themselves. 'Cause they really do have a lot to say.Cummings had a peculiar way with words and even punctuation. There is not one letter or even a single comma that doesn't have a significant meaning. Even the use of 'i' instead of 'I' holds a great purpose.And also, I would like to add that E. E. Cummings probably wrote some of the most beautiful love poems of all-time. Soft and delicate with a sincere tone of wholeness. Just read 'somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond" and you'll see. I believe that poem is capable of melting any heart.


This was such a wonderful selection of e.e. cummings' poetry. I'd previously read 100 Selected Poems and loved them, and read this because my best friend loved the book. I wasn't disappointed. I know that I'll be reading this multiple times in the future, and look forward to revisiting my favourite poems again. (Trust me, I've marked quite a few!)


"since feeling is firstwho pays any attention to the syntax of thingswill never wholly kiss you;"It's a stroke of luck that this is the first E.E. Cummings book I'd get my hands on, seeing as it contains small introductions by Richard S. Kennedy. Without those introductions I would have been lost. Honestly. As much as I have relished and soaked myself in Cummings' poetry, I could as easily have drowned and never been found. I am thankful I didn't. There are some of his poems I simply don't get, and some it took me very long to decipher. To the untrained eye some of what he writes is absolute gibberish. And some I'm not sure I'll ever train my eye well enough to make sense of, which is why I'm only giving this otherwise amazing book 4 stars. I don't really dig having my poetry-readings resemble a National Treasure movie. BUT, when I get E.E. Cummings (sometimes more easily than others) I love him, and I think his style and his insights are works of genius. I am particularly in love with how he uses the words themselves and these incredible grammatical distortions as living things - not just tools, to make his stories and sentences come to life. The words - even devoid of meaning - tell a story. Every comma, and parenthesis, tells a story. It also struck me how his writing reminded me, in places, of my own. Especially when it comes to using parenthesis'. I fucking love a good parenthesis. It is the one grammatical device I am emotionally attached to (it has a very special meaning for me). And the way it is used by Cummings is heavenly. So I recommend this book. The style is singular and perhaps you won't like it or understand anything at first, but I beg you to keep going - embrace it - keep your head above the water and swim like hell, you will reach land and it will be worth it. He had an extraordinary mind and a way with words I am inadvertently taken with. Here, have a few examples, and be convinced!:"pity this busy monster,manunkind," (come on guys, manunkind, how is that not the most magnificent play on words?)or "nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands" a favourite line of mine, I love the idea of the rain having small hands - perhaps then getting soaked is an embrace?These don't even begin to touch the variety or beauty and wit of the poems in this book - there's a very wide selection, both in themes and in style, so if you feel you want to get to know E.E. Cummings (a pursuit I can only recommend) this is a good place to start.


I knew there was a reason I had been looking for this guy for such a long time. :3 From his love poems to formal experiments to his satirical poems, I loved it. And because I just can't get enough, I'd like to share my personal favorite. Funny enough, it's a sonnet - though hardly a traditional one.being to timelessness as it's to time,love did no more begin than love will end;where nothing is to breathe to stroll to swimlove is the air the ocean and the land(do lovers suffer?all divinitiesproudly descending put on deathful flesh:are lovers glad?only their smallest joy'sa universe emerging from a wish)love is the voice under all silences,the hope which has no opposite in fear;the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:the truth more first than sun more last than star- do lovers love?why then to heaven with hell.Whatever sages say and fools,all's well


e. e. cummings is an unremarkable poet - he's good but not great, and his work is easily overlooked. Nevertheless, he's well worth reading, and although his writing is a little too classical for my liking, it's still accessible to both literary scholars and the general public, in its way.I wish I could say more - I'm fairly indifferent about this collection, it's too unmemorable and hasn't left me with the enlightened feeling that signals the end of a good book.


For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)it's always ourselves we find in the seai never really enjoyed poetry, but e.e. cummings is wonderful.

Malak Alrashed

I got to know E.E. Cummings through Youtube, YES, he was among certain poets Tom Hiddleston read for. He read May I Feel Said He; a really dirty poem. So yep, I got my hands on Cummings as soon as I could, and I was happy that his other poems were as dirty and erotic as my first impression of him. E.E Cummings is hard to resist, and this collection gives a great insight into his unique poetry as he doesn't follow any traditional rule or pattern, he makes his own words and rules. Thematically speaking, Cummings focuses on love, mostly and life and he's good at both. Although, sometimes the poems are hard to interpret and you can get lost trying to follow his thoughts, but he manages to get you back to track after a hell of a ride. "So far as I am concerned," Cummings once declared, "poetry and every other art was and is and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality….Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else." The rebellious and distinct sounds of E.E Cummings are a great reminder of how important individuality is, he is able to send tremendous feelings in such brief words. He is always mentioned in films -Hanna and Her Sisters- and he has made an influence in poetry. Read him.

Ayokunle Falomo

Being someone who hadn't always been a fan, Cummings was one of the first poets to get me excited about poetry. I remember coming across his works the first time and I was captivated by how he employed the page. I decided to read more about him and learned that he was a visual artist and that fascinated me even more. Since then, I have read a few more poems here and there by him, and I was pleased to receive as a gift this selection of some of his poems. There are poems in there that I can't decipher but I find myself coming back to them over and over again...and when I do "get" what he was trying to do with the placement of words, or with a line break, or a parenthesis, I scream with excitement. Now that I do write poems for the page, I have him as a model. He's taught me - and continues to - how to use the page to represent my words in a very visually engaging way.

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