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Complete Poems, 1904-1962

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  19,523 ratings  ·  205 reviews
At the time of his death in 1962, E. E. Cummings was, next to Robert Frost, the most widely read poet in America. 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 ...more
Hardcover, 1136 pages
Published 1994 by Liveright (first published 1991)
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4.35  · 
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 ·  19,523 ratings  ·  205 reviews

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Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
A friend of mine called me today to ask me to send him an e e cummings poem I used to have on my wall at work when I worked with him – oh, a decade ago. Neither of us thought it would be necessary for him to tell me which one, and so I sent him this one:

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 will easily unclose me
though i
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dear Edward,
In the rain-darkness, the sunset being sheathed, i sit and think of you. You may find this peculiar, that I think of you, without knowing you, but it's true. And, though i am a little church (no great cathedral), I'd have made my love known to you, if ever we'd have had the serendipity of occupying the same space. In fact, my dear, I'm quite certain I'd have stalked you. I can not help myself, you poser of clumsy. You, with your fancy words pressed into peasant's pants, to disguise y
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any w
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I love e.e.cummings' poetry. There is nothing like it. I can hardly review something so amazing, to be honest.

"there's time for laughing and there's time for crying -
for hoping for despair for peace for longing
- a time for growing and a time for dying:
a night for silence and a day for singing

but more than all(as your more than eyes
tell me) there is a time for timelessness" e.e.c.

And there's a time to shut up and just appreciate some amazing poetry.

Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone and their mom.
oh that i could give this book every star, star in the starry sky every gasp whisper and wonder, every dream of a dream unheard of, sentences, the roar of my bleating beating heart. every blinking winking of my parabolic eyelashes, my moon wrists skyscraper calves bridged feet and the city of wonder that he has at one time never time discovered. my little mouth in open joy knows not the path to the sly slippery of his genius. He that questions language knows its secrets.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
by E. E. Cummings

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 b
May 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This tome will be on my "currently reading" list for quite a while. Yesterday my husband was watching an old James Caan movie, "The Gambler" when he paused it and said, "Step away from the computer. Now I'm going to give you three words from a poem (which he'd heard recited in the movie) and I want you to tell me the poet. The words were: "Buffalo Bill's defunct...". I immediately spit out, e. e. cummings. Then I went and grabbed this book and read him this poem which I'd memorized in high schoo ...more
Patrick Gibson
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
of all the collections of e e's works

this is the finest

complete, of course, why wouldn't it be?

"as is the sea marvelous
from god’s
hands which sent her forth
to sleep upon the world

and the earth withers
the moon crumbles
one by one
stars flutter into dust

but the sea
does not change
and she goes forth out of hands and
she returns into hands

and is with sleep….

the breaking

of your
my lips"
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
i used to read this book on the floor of the bookstore in Singing River Mall in Gautier Mississippi cuz i had no
money to buy it! then one Christmas my friend Andrea
bought it for me! i have not gotten tired of a single poem. reading his poetry is like reading it for the first time every time. fiercly original - startlingly beautiful.

i cant say enough about this man and his talent.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Another monumental tome of poetry completed!

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
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is on my "currently reading" list, becuase for me, this is a book you read in dribs and drabs. It's rather the same as if you don't want to O.D. on a potent drug, such is the Beauty of this volume.

When I think of

the word


this is one of the

(see also
ts eliot,
stephen crane,
and browning.
for starters)

(exquitiness unbounded)
(language unfetterd)

(i guess i just loves all them little letters)
He is the father of free thinkers and all lovers. His poetics launched a whole new attitude and possibilities flourished because of his relentless courage to obliterate literary correctness. He dared to be different. He dared to be silly. He soars high above all other poets who are earthbound by formulaic prose. When I read one of his poems, it rattles my cage for days. It is unnecessary to understand it in the usual sense. His craftiness speaks to the subconscious and evokes emotion and intuiti ...more
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is mammoth, and I regret I have yet to read it fully. cummings can be so frustrating that it is rather impossible to read this book from front to back like a good spy novel. But, his imagery is beautiful, and on occasion it feels as if your mind has grafted into his when everything begins to click into place... even when you have no idea what the hell he's talking about.
Right now, I'm about 40% of the way through, and that's okay. If I die at the age of 55, I'll probably have finished
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"Buffalo Bill ’s
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death"

My favorite ee cummings poem. And I still am not entirely sure what it's about.

(P.S. I can't get the spacing exactly right because of the review formatting but yeah)
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
you said Is

you said Is
there anything which
is dead or alive more beautiful
than my body,to have in your fingers
(trembling ever so little)?
Looking into
your eyes Nothing,i said,except the
air of spring smelling of never and forever.

....and through the lattice which moved as
if a hand is touched by a
moved as though
fingers touch a girl's
Do you believe in always,the wind
said to the rain
I am too busy with
my flowers to believe,the rain answered

Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"i'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."

An amazing poet, never uses a capital letter...and he was not afraid of the censors of his time. Clear, moving, American poetry.

"as hat racks into peach trees grow..."
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Perfection. A perfect reread. Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don't. But it is always interesting.
Marloes Leijser
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ba-english
Did not read all of his poems. Read "in Just-", "next to god of course america i" and "anywho lived in a pretty how town"
After reading some analyses of what the poems really mean, I liked them.
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing

INDAH. itulah mengapa saya sangat mencintai puisi-puisi E.E Cummings. oleh syair cintanya yang membuai, saya pun takluk dan mencintainya sampai detik ini. rasanya tak pernah bosan bercinta setiap malam dengan kata-katanya yang lembut dan penuh cinta. seperti menemukan ruang berbagi perasaan; atas kemelut jiwa. seperti menemukan kata penghiburan; atas kesepian. seperti menemukan bahu untuk bersandar; atas kelelahan. seperti menemukan pelukan hangat; atas segala kesedihan. dan seperti menemukan te
Dave H
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Cummings was an early favorite. 100 Selected Poems was the first book of poetry I purchased and was read over and over.

The complete works has been with me for much time, drifted in and out of it. As is usual with 'complete works,' when you are accustomed to the best, the lesser entries are a disappointment. The endeavor is a treasure hunt. With Cummings, the material is somewhat redundant in approach; for every poem you love, there are five attempts that miss (not necessarily a negative as, in a
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-loan
I had encountered bits and pieces of E.E. Cummings poetry, here and there, throughout the years, and generally enjoyed it. The wordplay, unique visual arrangements, and willful flouting of some grammatical rules made for a change from the typical, formulaic poetry I was so familiar with from school. This collection was eye-opening, in its breadth. It turns out Cummings had written a variety of kinds of poetry, before settling on the iconic style most now associate with him. The subject matter is ...more
SJ Loria
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
What is so refreshing about EE Cummings is his joyful perspective on life. While his style and form is not traditional, many of his main themes are (love, sex, life, death, childhood, the role of an individual in relation to others, the search for ones true self).
Cummings is an iconoclast who rejects many traditional forms of control that limit individualism, but he does not devote his attention to an anger towards these forces. Several of his poems treat them dismissively, intellectually, and i
Tom Menner
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not that I like everything that e.e. cummings does (as I'm not typically fond of his syntactic stylistic manipulations), but some of my most favorite poems are by him - and so for that reason alone I give this collection high marks. I was familiar with his poem about Buffalo Bill, but it was really the Woody Allen movie "Hannah and Her Sisters" that exposed me to his work, as Michael Caine's character quotes "somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond" to his lover (or more exactly, his wif ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"my mind is
a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and
taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and
chipping with sharp fatal tools
in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of
chrome and execute strides of cobalt
nevertheless i
feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am
becoming something a little different, in fact
Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet
Emma Clement
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
This book was so freaking long and there were like a million poems in there but I really, really enjoyed reading them all! I didn't like all of the poems, but I liked a good deal of them, and there were 10 or 15 that really spoke to me that I particularly enjoyed (and will make sure to read over those ones again). I'm no poetry expert, and I'm new to E. E. Cummings, but I thought I'd give his poetry a try and I'm glad I did!
Ron Evans
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
E.E. Cummings has the most original and creative style I've ever read. He has his own system of punctuation and grammar. It's as if he's putting his stream of consciousness directly onto the page. If anyone wants to know and enjoy American poetry, Cummings has to be included near the top of your reading list. Also, he's pretty easy to understand.His poems didn't have titles as if he was just jotting down immediate thoughts. I always go back to reading his poems and I always will.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
cummings is my favorite poet. Have purchased three copies of this book for friends who want to read poetry but don't know where to begin. Also worth checking out is cummings reading his own works. My friend lent me an audio cassette of cummings reading selected poems and it is equally compelling. Absolute genius.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
As with all poetry this cannot be consumed in one setting and of course there were poems that stood out more than others but overall reading the lyrical (in my opinion/reading) poetry by cummings was a highly enjoyable experience.
Also I had an electronic version of this so it may not be all the works but the majority for sure.
Jim Asher
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am continually amazed at the genius of Cummings. You know how you see more and more details when you see a movie for a second or third time? The same is true in reading and re-reading the poetry of Cummings -- with each new reading my mind sees more and more details and possibilities.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so overwhelmed by the poetry and proud that i own this book. beautiful, beautiful poems.
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e.e. cummings reads his six nonlectures on 6 CDs 2 5 May 23, 2014 01:33PM  

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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
“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”
“since the thing perhaps is
to eat flowers and not to be afraid”
More quotes…