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100 Selected Poems

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  18,419 ratings  ·  312 reviews
E.E. Cummings is without question one of the major poets of this century, and this volume, first published in 1959, 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 extr ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 10th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1954)
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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 ...more
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 accompan
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 more 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 satiris ...more
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
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile


While reading this, I was co
Rachael Quinn
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 po
I've always loved the Indigo Girls song "Virginia Woolf," because it's about the awe-inspiring sensation of instinctively grasping a writer's aesthetic and point of view, and it's pretty much how I felt while I was reading this collection of E. E. Cummings's poems.

I had encountered isolated examples of Cummings before, in textbooks, anthologies, and choral music, but I really only began to grasp the breadth and depth of Cummings's wit, playfulness, and effusive use of language when I read severa
Stef Rozitis
It's hard to rate an anthology of poetry because there were individual poems in there that I drop-dead loved, others I just liked. There were others I did not like at all and there were some I had trouble understanding. Of the ones I had trouble understanding there were some that I figured if I was a little smarter, or better read or had more similar cultural capital to the poet maybe I would have had a chance, but there were some I suspected the poet was just being subjective to the point of in ...more
It's a pleasure to write about e. e. cummings, as it is to read him. (And I believe, as is obvious, in never capitalizing his name. It's like putting "God" in lower case.) The extravagant praise on the back of this book, by Marianne Moore, John Dos Passos, Randall Jarrell, Karl Shapiro, is notably defensive, as if one must apologize for liking cummings -- the way one apologizes for loving Madonna. And there is a definite "pop music" to e. e.: the tender strains of love, and adolescent revolt, sw ...more
Mark Desrosiers
I once titled a high school mix tape "He sang his didn't he danced his did." -- I bet I wasn't the only person to do that.

Cummings speaks to that rosy-cheeked puppy-love idealism that infects us all when we're young & lusty, and he's occasionally a genius at it too. But I think high school is where his poems should stay: his inability to think deeply about any topic whatsoever is pretty obvious as you read on. And his bungee-jumping syntax seems more lazy than brilliant after you move on to
Katie Dreyer
How can you describe the beauty of E.E. Cummings? There is no way to put into words the simply ecstastic way in which he writes. For people who can't stand some improper grammar - you probably won't be his biggest fan. It's an aqquired taste to be sure. His poems are full of ambition, idealism, sex, and fantasy. The words float off the page. Read them out loud to yourself. I'll be astonished if you're not completely moved by them.

"i feel that(false and true are merely to know)
Love only has ever
Can I just mention how much I love Cummings? Because this man's work is perfection, it really is. The hardest part tends to be picking my favorite pieces. I did manage it, sort of, but I'm sure my favorites would change depending on my mood. In fact, I know they've changed since the last time I read this! Every time I buy a book of poetry, I note the poems that I like the best, and I just had to keep adding poems to the previous list. Which means pretty much half of the poems are my "favorites", ...more
What a funny little book this was. Not ha ha funny, but interesting, quirky, odd yet entertaining. ee cummings, who wrote his name in lower case letters, wrote in a unique style all his own. What's unique about his poems is perhaps just that, his odd syntax, random punctuations and made up words. I can just picture the nuns from 8th grade wagging their fingers at him, b/c of his disregard for any kind of rules of writing. He seemed to be in a little world of his own. And many of his poems I didn ...more
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any 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 near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
This collection is great. E e cummings is awesome. Some of his poems get a little carried away, otherwise his poetry is great. Here's my favorite:

Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
Oct 13, 2013 John added it
Shelves: format-poetry
I've always felt intimidated by poetry. Never know how to talk about it or evaluate the craft in an intelligent way and even at the poems I love, hesitate and suspect there are within them untold writerly choices being made which I will fail to appreciate.

So rather than a review now, I will leave a poem from this collection:

"no time ago
or else a life
walking in the dark
i met christ

jesus)my heart
flopped over
and lay still
while he passed(as

close as i'm to you
yes closer
made of nothing
except lonelin
Oct 19, 2012 J.C. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Although I have the hardest time with poetry, I enjoyed reading e.e., especially when i came across the word "manUNkind" (my capitalization), i thought that phrasing was magnificent, and well worth pondering over. e.e. seemed to fight for the natural world, the organic and real, and despised the superficial. And honestly, who can blame him? This was printed in the 1920's, and things have only become more commercialized since then.

At any rate, I must admit there was a lot that i missed, though t
I'm not going to review all of the e.e. cummings collections that I own (there are way too many as I have this thing about collecting them). What I will say is that cummings has this totally selfish/creative/lovely/beautiful/erotic way of writing that just gets me every time. There is rarely a poem of his that I've read that I don't like. He's modern and writes very much that way, and I love his playful use of punctuality and grammar as a means of conveying his emotions. If you've never read cum ...more
If two years ago anyone would have told me I'd read a book of poetry for fun, I'd have said that they're crazy. I used to think poetry is boring and pretentious, that the endless list of rules kills away creativity (because dammit if you're so busy counting syllables you don't see the whole thing). I now realize how wrong I am and must face it. I like poetry (though not haikus).

This was beautiful. I am not a poet (screenwriter and librettist here). I can't use words the way e e cummings does. I
CX Dillhunt
my intro to ee cummings, now can't put him down, always something to cheer, to complain, to trick, to play, to puzzle and some of the best love poems every written in any language (cummings having his own version o English!)
A nice survey of ee cummings work, picked up on a whim from the library. This book features a lot of his most popular poems and a few that I hadn't read before.

If a person wanted to dip her toes into modern poetry, this is a great book to pick up. Cummings style is approachable and, even for a casual or uninitiated poetry fan (I count myself among this group), there is significant payoff in many of his poems. I find myself drawn to certain writers during certain seasons and, in this capricious
Great collection of cummings poems. He is one of the most famous 20th century poet that is still being read. He was also an artist.
I guess i'm not a poetry person because i have a very difficult time understanding the text. It's really frustrating for me.
E.E.Cummings will change your life.One of the most unique and playfully profound poet's I've ever read.
Adrienne Hohensee
In sophomore English, we were supposed to pick out any poem and read it for our spoken word poetry unit. I was looking through, searching for one I really liked, when I fould e. e. cummings, and thought his name was cool. His poetry was beautiful. He writes completely in lowercase, with no rhyme scheme, in a very unique way. Many of his poems are about love, like the one I read called "I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)". After reading that one, I went out and read about a th ...more
My very last book for the book bingo challenge! I was under major time crunch, and should have known better than to pick poetry for a fast read, but it was "a book with a number in the title," and it fit both the poetry category and the to-read categories of my personal reading resolutions for the year, which have been sadly neglected during the book bingo scramble this summer.

I spent the first half of this book struggling with how to read it. A few already known poems I loved, and a few more sp
It's a happy coincidence that I'm kicking off April's reads with poetry. Happy National Poetry Month!

Despite having never played a musical instrument, I spent the majority of my time in college at the school of music (I'd explain my color guard days, but I suspect that very few of my GoodReads friends would "get it" and/or not make fun of me for it). Anyways, for one of my captain auditions, we received a CD with recordings from the music school for the purposes of choreographing a piece to a so
To be fair, I didn't really have enough patience while reading this book to enjoy the poems like I should have. They aren't the kind of poems you can just stroll through without thinking much about what they mean. I did really enjoy the following poem in its entirety:

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
all ignorance toboggans unto know
and trudges up to ignorance again;

--e. e. cummings

I feel like something just fell of the shelf inside me. I sat down planning to work my through this collection at a ten-a-day pace, and I finished it in two sittings, reading each poem twice or thrice or more along the way. Why/how the hell did I blunder this far forward without reading--really reading--cummings? I mumble-muttered the whole collection aloud to myself, and my tongue will be thanking me for days. D
I've always loved Cummings's unique poetic style, but I particularly like this collection of his work that's been compiled; it's a nice mix of old favorites and poems of his that I haven't read before. Li-Young Lee once said (at my undergraduate college) that the only subjects worthy of poetry are love and death, and this collection precedes that notion by about forty years.

For many, Cummings's poetry is a challenge because of his play with punctuation and, particularly, irregular syntax. But, e
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is it good book to read? 15 3 Apr 15, 2015 01:38AM  
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Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School.

He received his BA in 1915 and his MA in 1916, both from Harvard University. His studies there introduced him to the poetry of avant-garde writers, such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound.

In 1917, Cummings published a
More about E.E. Cummings...
Complete Poems, 1904-1962 Selected Poems 95 Poems Tulips and Chimneys The Enormous Room

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“when man determined to destroy
himself he picked the was
of shall and finding only why
smashed it into because”
“Love is the whole and more than all.” 126 likes
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