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Selected Poems

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  13,284 ratings  ·  311 reviews
The one hundred and fifty-six poems here, arranged in twelve sections and introduced by E. E. Cummings's biographer, include his most popular poems, spanning his earliest creations, his vivacious linguistic acrobatics, up to his last valedictory sonnets. Also featured are thirteen drawings, oils, and watercolors by Cummings, most of them never before published.

The selectio
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 17th 2007 by Liveright (first published January 1st 1960)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  13,284 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
"since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will 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.

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,
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books, poetry
"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than 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 underst
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Another collection I wish I could give 5 stars to. Cummings was truly a wordsmith and I was in awe by several of his beautiful poems. However, at times I felt as though I was reading Finnegan’s Wake; some of the poems were just a bit too crazy and nonsensical.

And as for favourites, here’s mine:

“some ask praise of their fellows
but i being otherwise
made composure curves
and yellows, angles or silences
to a less erring end)
myself is sculptor of
your body’s idiom:
the musician of your wrists;
the poet wh
Abbie | nerdyabbie
Jun 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Short but a super interesting collection of poetry.

I've never read Cummings before, and it was certainly interesting. There were time during his more experimental poems that literally had me going:

I couldn't understand it for the life of me. And then there were other times when his writing was beautiful. I just wasn't in the mood for poetry, which resulted in me absentmindedly flipping through this one. I was very bored, unfortunately. But nice writing overall!
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
"death,as men call him,ends what they call men
--but beauty is more now than dying's when"

I used to hate e. e. cummings but today my opinion has changed. He now seems to me one of the most powerful poets in the avant-garde tradition, a modernist who saw the world as the Transcendentalists did.

What strikes me about cummings is that his style works to capture thought and feeling as it is experienced. The result is the human soul unfiltered, as if cummings is not so much writing down the final produ
Such a disappointment, since there are moments of poetic brilliance scattered here and there and it is evident he was a brilliant man. If I owned this copy, I'd have highlighted them so that I could share some of those gems. This is the first time I have read a collection of his poems--hitherto I've just read one here or there and usually liked those. True, e e cummings was doing new things with poetry, but I have read better poets, or at least poets I liked better, who were also brilliant. Also ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading this collection was like watching an impressive fireworks show!The greatest moments of excitement did not come instantaneously at the first encounter with the poems –it took me some time to see beautiful images and feel vibrations of meanings penetrating my heart. The brief introductions included at the beginning of each 12 sections and E E Cummings’ sketches are portals towards the labyrinthic universe of each of the poems . So much delight to spend some time inside!

To me, the most beau
Peycho Kanev
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Well, he gave us the perfect line: cut, edgy, bold; like a shining diamond. He was more modern than the modern poets today. Yes, that's the truth. And, of course he was wonderful painter, artist. What else do we need? In times when almost everyone wrote like they wrote 200 years ago he showed us that there is another way to put the lines, another way to go at the subject; you can just cut it in half and to hell with it. One of the best avant-gard poets and he was guarding his style with his mass ...more
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: g-poetry
The Greatest American Poet of the 20th Century.
That's all.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Most of Cummings' work is beyond me, but that's not his fault, I believe. I enjoy reading poetry more for the beauty of the language, how a phrase is turned, more so than to understand. And, perhaps I'm a little too dense as well. This little collection provided many lines I could read aloud and hear the birds singing. ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've loved the poem 'carry your heart' for years and known I love Cummings because of that. I've been on a bit of a poetry binge so decided to get this book and see if I liked more of his work.
I really do enjoy it.
The way he used language and syntax, shaping it to his own meaning and expression is beautiful.
But it's not easy. There are little intros to the sections which help explain a lot about some of the poems thank god. I like to understand. To work out the layers and meanings and these re
Malak Alrashed
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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 spe
Puteri Yasmin Suraya
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, poetry
OK, I know it's kind of cheating when I put a poetry collection on my shelf, thereby adding it to my reading challenge, but on a normal basis I would read poetry books by flipping randomly to a page, read one or two poems, and then set it back down, perhaps picking it back up weeks later. That's why I never add poetry to my GR shelf. But E.E. Cummings' collection is the only poetry book I've actually read cover to cover, marking each poem that resonated deeply within me (the Contents page is now ...more
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poultry, repoesy
Part of a 2020 Pandemic Project: using poets' repetitions to make something i'm now calling repoesy.

up attractive. Feet begin
As if (yours) bells (mine) wind
Clover bells (up) riding
(Bells) riding mountain utters
Dreams (so that) as simple (Boom
Down) begin (to fathers)
Are dancing (down) again and
You (look) (said) (kiss has been) (found)
Holy alone. The trees stand

if you want to make your own...
again and| {or |and again| }
are dan
Leela Srinivasan
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: looked-at
He's so weird. I love him. This is why I read poetry-- I don't feel like I'm supposed to get all of it. I don't want to constantly read things that I think I could have written. Sometimes it's nice, when a writer reaches into your soul and pulls it out on paper, but e.e. cummings shows me a whole new picture, one I have never seen before, and it's muddled and confusing but it fills me with awe. I didn't get a lot of this book. I wasn't meant to. But it stretches and redefines the limits of what ...more
Some poems did not catch my interest despite their linguistic acrobatics, but for the most part, this was an interesting collection with many memorable poems.
Maddie Pearson
May 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: annotated, poetry, 2021
I loved this collection! Some of the poems were just too insane to even try to comprehend without looking up outside sources, but I did appreciate the beginnings of the chapters having a short description of what was to come. 3.5!
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary. I never thought I’d like this sort of free form poetry but it is quite something to experience this collection of E E Cumming’s work! Especially the short introductions at the start of each chapter were helpful to better understand exactly what he was expressing.
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
good stuff, even when i feel like i’ve lost my grasp of the english language. in terms of compilation, well-organized, and let me tell you, he’s got some DEVASTATING satire
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2018
your slightest look will easily 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
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

Hays. Nakakakilig.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just love E.E. Cummings, one of my favourite poets and this is collection is really good!
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
*3.5 stars*
First off, just let me say that even though I "only" gave this 3.5 stars, I really did enjoy it, and I consider Cummings one of my favorite poets. However, I have to rate this as a cumulative piece of work, and there were so many poems (around 150 I believe) that overall it was such a mixed bag. Some I absolutely loved, some I just liked, and some I wasn't a fan of. I think it's a great collection of his poetry if you like him, I really appreciated the little essays before each sectio
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
This was not my cup of tea. I don't love poetry generally and I found most of this to be nonsensical. If you're the type of person who enjoys sitting and reading poems, spending time interpreting them and appreciating variances in form and verse etc., you might enjoy this. For me, it was more of a headache than anything else. Some verses and poems were entertaining, and I can see that E.E. Cummings was thought-provoking, experimental, and thoughtful, but it's just not for me. ...more
Danielle Long
Mar 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
this edition is wonderfully organized. it's split into sections, and each contains an introduction of biographical context.
(also, i didn't read this in one day: i've been slowly reading it over time, but forgot to mark when i started it. such is life.)
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O e.e. cummings
,i love,
the words and
mashed and somethings

rules aren't real

it would do
many of us good
to ,some, remember
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
real good primer on ee cummings, learnt a lot and really loved it

also im in such a reading funk at the moment, does anyone have any recs?
Angela Lim
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
who are you,little i

(five or six years old)
peering from some high

window;at the gold

of november sunset

(and feeling: that if day
has to become night

this is a beautiful way)

E. E. Cummings is perhaps the first poet that piqued my interest. Back in high school, we had to write a biographical and literary report on any American poet of our choosing. We also had the freedom to select which poems we would analyze, mentioning themes and literary devices that the poet employed. The final part of the projec
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
e e cummings has been one of my favourite poets for a long time, but I had never previously sat down and read an entire anthology. What a choice to start with!

Richard Kennedy has done a brilliant job of selecting, ordering and categorising poems from cummings's large selection. Each themed section is also introduced with the correct balance of information and analysis, but not so much that it prevents the reader from coming to their own conclusions regarding the poems themselves. Kennedy selecte
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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

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“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
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”
“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)” 674 likes
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