100 Selected Poems

Written by: E.E. Cummings

100 Selected Poems Book Cover
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 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 extraordinary lyricism, playfulness, technical ingenuity, and compassion for which Cummings is famous. They demonstrate beautifully his extrapolations from traditional poetic structures and his departures from them, as well as the unique synthesis of lavish imagery and acute artistic precision that has won him the adulation and respect of critics and poetry lovers everywhere.
feedback image
Total feedbacks: 70
37
15
11
7
0
Looking for 100 Selected Poems in PDF? Check out Scribid.com
Audiobook
Check out Audiobooks.com

100 Selected Poems Reviews

QS
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", 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", but what are you going to do? It is Cummings after all.

So, of course, my favorite favorites, in numerical order:

33. a clowns smirk in the skull of a baboon
42. here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
53. may my heart always be open to little
62. my father moved through dooms of love
73. pity this busy monster,manunkind,
74. one's not half two. It's two are halves of one:
79. let it go--the
87. o by the by
88. if everything happens that can't be done
99. now all the fingers of this tree(darling)have

(The top three are 73, 99, & 74.)

Unfortunately, I do have one complaint about this collection. And you know what that complaint is? That the "i carry your heart with me" poem isn't in here. I know at this point it's kind of trite and overdone, but that's because I have never met a person who didn't love that poem on their first encounter with it. It's not my favorite Cummings poem (no, really, "pity this busy monster,manunkind," is), but I can't help but feel that any collection of selected poems that doesn't include "i carry your heart..." is incomplete. That's just my opinion though.

At any rate, I solved the problem by writing the poem down and sticking it in the book myself. Muaha.
Anders
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
intelligenc 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
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shop and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you
Sleepless
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 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 can't describe how this book made me feel. I wish he could follow me around and narrate my life so I could learn to see the world like he does.

I read this book slowly and I cherished each word. I'm definitely going to reread this and probably read more of his work.

I recommend this to everyone, especially people who don't like poetry. Also, does anyone know a good haiku book? Do haikus even come in books?
China: The Balance Sheet: What the World Needs to Know About the Emerging Superpower :: The Children of Men :: Hitler :: Greenspan: The Man Behind Money :: Flat Stanley
Sydney (Сидни)
My first interest in poetry stemmed from reading an EE Cummings book.

He is an icon in the world of poets for his 'unique' type of writing... and, what I mean to say is that his poems are always a little macabre, but they are vivid, too - and, that's what has made him so special. He writes on almost everything; but, all of his poems tell a story within themselves. (Reminds me a little of Emily Dickinson for some reason?)

I do think everyone should read EE Cummings at least once in their lives... My first interest in poetry stemmed from reading an EE Cummings book.

He is an icon in the world of poets for his 'unique' type of writing... and, what I mean to say is that his poems are always a little macabre, but they are vivid, too - and, that's what has made him so special. He writes on almost everything; but, all of his poems tell a story within themselves. (Reminds me a little of Emily Dickinson for some reason?)

I do think everyone should read EE Cummings at least once in their lives.... :)

Kaitlyn
I really admire Cummings' style, form and imagery. Beautiful.

I liked the majority of his poems, but I didn't understand them all. I know if I would have spent a few more minutes and wrote a literary analysis on each, I maybe could have. But...part of me thinks that I don't want to understand poetry, I want it to understand ME. Is that selfish?
Marina
Serían, más exactamente, tres estrellas y media, porque esa media habla de la duda: no sé si hay mucho que no entendí porque carezco de cierto sustento teórico o porque es así, poesía para no entender y sólo experimentar.
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!)
Dan
E.E.Cummings will change your life.One of the most unique and playfully profound poet's I've ever read.
Harley
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.
Nadine Jones
Like many people, I've read e.e. cummings poems for years (or is it E.E. Cummings? That looks wrong, but I read that is the correct way? But this book prints his name in lowercase...) but I never sat down and read a full book of his poetry. Of course this is just a "collection" selected from many of his original books, but that's what my library had. This collection does not contain any poems from his last (?) book, 95 Poems, which means it does not include my favorite e.e. cummings poem, maggie Like many people, I've read e.e. cummings poems for years (or is it E.E. Cummings? That looks wrong, but I read that is the correct way? But this book prints his name in lowercase...) but I never sat down and read a full book of his poetry. Of course this is just a "collection" selected from many of his original books, but that's what my library had. This collection does not contain any poems from his last (?) book, 95 Poems, which means it does not include my favorite e.e. cummings poem, maggie and molly and millie and mae. But that's okay.

I was surprised to find that many of his poems are love poems! And many of his poems are earthy, even lewd. Many others are current events, especially anti-war and anti-establishment. I had read "Olaf glad and big" before, but I thought that was an anomaly. It is not. I did not know that, maybe because he is often included in books for children, and that's what I had been reading.

I rediscovered an old favorite:

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond


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
And one of the surprising (to me) current events poems, that seems kind of bizarre until you read some background and find that Joe Gould was an actual person, a Harvard grad turned homeless drug addict.

little joe gould has lost his teeth and doesn't know where


little joe gould has lost his teeth and doesn't know where
to find them(and found a secondhand set which click)little
gould used to amputate his appetite with bad brittle
candy but just(nude eel)now little joe lives on air

Harvard Brevis Est for Handkerchief read Papernapkin no laundry
bulls likes People preferring Negroes Indians Youse
n.b. ye twang of little joe(yankee)gould irketh
sundry who are trying to find their minds(but never had any to lose)

and a myth is as good as a smile but little joe gould's quote oral
history unquote might(publishers note)be entitled a wraith's
progress or mainly awash while chiefly submerged or an amoral
morality sort-of-aliveing by innumerable kind-of-deaths

(Amérique Je T'Aime and it may be fun to be fooled
but it's more fun to be more to be fun to be
little joe gould)
Mareiah Alfonso
As if I haven't said this enough, there will never be a text that you "get" all the way through, and this is a truth that I have to reconcile with in order not to be sad and feel like a failure, especially after reading a collection of poetry. With that being said, this was the case for 100 Selected Poems of e.e. Cummings. There were quite a few that just went over my head-- and that's okay. There were quite a few that I felt I had a grasp on in a few lines and then nothing again-- that's cool t As if I haven't said this enough, there will never be a text that you "get" all the way through, and this is a truth that I have to reconcile with in order not to be sad and feel like a failure, especially after reading a collection of poetry. With that being said, this was the case for 100 Selected Poems of e.e. Cummings. There were quite a few that just went over my head-- and that's okay. There were quite a few that I felt I had a grasp on in a few lines and then nothing again-- that's cool too. There were also quite a few that I got-- really cool! All in all, even if I couldn't understand some of the poems, I'll give Cummings credit: the rhyme and flow of the poems was still pleasant and fun. I definitely enjoyed that aspect of his poetry. Also, this is my first attempt at the Romantic poets, and it has been affirming. One of the things I truly liked about Mr. Cummings was the theme of feeling and emotion being more of truth than logic and reason. I've always believed this because this is the kind of person I am and the way in which I work. It's so comforting to know that someone else feels the same and regards emotion, feeling, and imagination to the high pedestal that I do so myself.

The poems I loved/caught my attention/found funny:
1-Thy fingers make early flowers of
5-O sweet spontaneous (a favorite)
14-I like my body when it is with your (I hope someday I can feel this way about somebody)
15-Humanity i love you
20-she being Brand (so hilarious if you get it.. the dirty joke of poetry)
28-since feeling is first
30-i sing of Olaf glad and big (one of the war-themed poems I enjoyed)
41-conceive a man,should he have anything
44-Jehovah buried,Satan dead,
79-let it go-the (really personal for me)
89-when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
94-if (touched by love's own secret)we,like homing ("how should contented fools of fact envision/the mystery of freedom?"
95-i thank You God for most this amazing (another favorite; incredibly beautiful)
99-now all the fingers of this tree( darling ) have

P.S. Cummings makes some really interesting stylistic choices in his poems (punctuation, capitalization, spacing). I can see why his poems have been highly regarded as avante-garde.
Beatrice Drury
I've read a good deal of poetry over the years and was familiar with a few of e e cummings poems. There are 100 poems in this collection. I think I may have truly liked 10.
What I liked about those few poems.
1 - He loved April in Springtime.
2 - He liked sex and love.

That's it. Many of the poems I had to read twice and still had NO idea what he was trying to say. Some other poems seemed as if he had done nothing but string a handful of disparate words together with no apparent meaning at all. I've read a good deal of poetry over the years and was familiar with a few of e e cummings poems. There are 100 poems in this collection. I think I may have truly liked 10.
What I liked about those few poems.
1 - He loved April in Springtime.
2 - He liked sex and love.

That's it. Many of the poems I had to read twice and still had NO idea what he was trying to say. Some other poems seemed as if he had done nothing but string a handful of disparate words together with no apparent meaning at all.

I went in to this believing I would enjoy it based on the few poems I read and enjoyed when young. I was disappointed, confused and even had a headache when finished. NOT IMPRESSED with this example of wonderful American poetry.
Dima Asaad
Day 92. Book 83.
28. Life is not a paragraph and death I think is no parenthesis.
35. Nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility.

51. My speciality is living said a man (who could not earn his bread because he would not sell his head)
53. You shall above all things be glad and you. For if you’re young, whatever life you wear, it will become you. And if you are glad, whatever’s living will yourself become.
Charles Mitchell
there's a very clear link between Cummings and the beats. his experimental forms and punctuations make it difficult for most layman, but work a little effort these complex poems are extremely rewarding. featuring a handful of poems from each of his books from 1923 to 1950, this is a nice overview of his work. themes include love, spring, and existence with slice of life word images serving as metaphors for his deeper meanings
Ben
I enjoyed some of the poems more than others. I have very little other experience with poetry, so I likely didn't understand the technical accomplishments some of these poems achieved, via syllabel limits, word limits, or other restrictions. I liked the ones where I knew how to pronounce most of the words.

I enjoyed these poems enough to keep an eye out for any other well regarded poets works.
Matthew Dambro
Some of his best work is here. Reading cummings poetry forces one to let go of your preconceived notions of English. Sometimes you must read lines over and over to see the meaning. Sometimes it is best to read it aloud. cummings is a magician with the English language. He plays games with it like a child and sometimes he hits dead center in one's soul.
Hannah
Enjoyed some of these poems but I’m way too dumb to get the majority of them, much less enjoy it!!

Read for popsugar 2017 challenge prompt:
A book mentioned in another book (perks of being a wallflower)
Andrea
Poems for the soul. It doesn't get more beautiful than this. You can dive into it and let it get a hold of your senses...
Christine
A wonderful read for poetry month! Cummings' poetry in their non-traditional form, forces one to think about the meaning of each poem.
Nichelle Crocker
Maybe I’ll just keep reading this forever.
Paul Ferguson
If you want to see what poetry can be, check out EE Cummings. Easily accessible but a challenge to pin down— I always come back to these poems.
Antonio Delgado
Language becomes the urgency for new sounds and new thoughts, a rewiring of how our brains should learn to read.
Chuck
Introducing myself a little deeper than the surface knowledge I had of e. e. Cumming’s poetry, I liked a tenth of these 100 “selected.”
Mason
Easier to read as a whole than No Thanks, although some of my favs from no thanks are in here.
Joel Morris
Brilliant. Different than anyone else's poetry and that's why it's brilliant.
Jason
This is a 3 for me. It need not be a 3 for you. It may be too obvious to say, but I'll say it: All rankings are subjective, triply so for poetry.

To read 10 poems by Cummings is to be immersed in his genius. I can't summon anyone who writes about love and joy with as much love and joy as him.

But to read 100 poems is to be exhausted by repetition of imagery, theme, and even his famous (everlyso) stylistic quirks. You can only read about so many roses, springs, and the thens of now, and heartbeats This is a 3 for me. It need not be a 3 for you. It may be too obvious to say, but I'll say it: All rankings are subjective, triply so for poetry.

To read 10 poems by Cummings is to be immersed in his genius. I can't summon anyone who writes about love and joy with as much love and joy as him.

But to read 100 poems is to be exhausted by repetition of imagery, theme, and even his famous (everlyso) stylistic quirks. You can only read about so many roses, springs, and the thens of now, and heartbeats of mountains before the poems fail to distinguish themselves.

And, frankly, his snorts at the "contented fools of fact" has aged about as well as his McCarthyism.

To be an undiluted romantic at 20 and 70 is beautiful. To be an undiluted romantic for all the time between seems puerile.

Then again, Cummings might reply that it's better to be puerile and immersed in love than anything else I might suggest. And I wouldn't have the wit/wisdom to refute him.
Amanda
EE Cummings is one of my favorites, especially his love poetry. His sparseness and subtlety make the music more pronounced.
Charles D'Angelo
I don't know what can be said about e.e. cummings that hasn't already been said but he has got to be the most influential and amazing poet of the 20th century. The way he uses language, punctuation, and plays on words is just beyond belief. I have a few MP3s of him reading his own work and they're horrible--he has the worst voice in the world and sounds really bad. BUT I don't think his work was meant to be listened to anyway. You have to see it on the page to appreciate it.
Tiara
I know many people that dislike e.e.cummings’ work, but I never was really sure why. When I read this book of selected poems, I understood why, but at the same time, I was in love for the exact same reasons.
His diction is the first thing that pops up at any first-time reader. He mixes words up in a sentence, he puts words together to make one, his line breaks are unpredictable, and he barely has punctuation save for some rare periods and question marks that are also met with parenthesis that don I know many people that dislike e.e.cummings’ work, but I never was really sure why. When I read this book of selected poems, I understood why, but at the same time, I was in love for the exact same reasons.
His diction is the first thing that pops up at any first-time reader. He mixes words up in a sentence, he puts words together to make one, his line breaks are unpredictable, and he barely has punctuation save for some rare periods and question marks that are also met with parenthesis that don’t belong. Overall his poems are sometimes very hard to understand.
However to me, this aspect is the very thing that makes his poems so charming and effective. “since feeling is first” is one of my favorite poems that I have ever read. It contains so many aspects that can be analyzed further (such as the juxtaposition between very real, technical things such as “syntax”, “paragraph”, “parenthesis”, “my blood”, “my brain”, to love and how emotion should come first in a person’s decision, as well as the contrast between the first and last lines: “since feeling is first” and “And death i think is no parenthesis”), and yet if you take this poem in the most literal way possible, it can also be read as such a romantic poem. When I first read it before I actually tried to make sense of any of it, I saw this as a confession to a person a man desperately loves, saying that someone that pays attention to small things like the order of things will never really love her, and how he would rather end up with a kiss rather than well-organized thought. He then tells her that she can be care-free and happy in his arms because life isn’t a small block of words, secluded from the rest of the page, and death isn’t something that secludes her even further. It isn’t something that blocks off her life and ends it. Perhaps he may even see it as a form of release.
There are also the straightforward satirical ones, such as “next to of course god america i”, which was about a politician or a patriot that is speaking about how he loves America, and goes on to discretely mock the citizens and the soldiers in the military. What I found interesting about this one was that it was written in a sonnet form. Cummings is well known for his distinct style, but he was following this rhyme and rhythm format. I also learned from researching this poem that it was actually made of “allusive quotations or fragments of quotations, a technique that he had learned from T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound”*. I learned from reading this poem that cummings was also incorporating other peoples’ ideas into his writing as well, a fact I had not previously known.
I enjoyed reading this book because it gave me a new view of the author, and a better understanding of his range of topics and styles. I felt that his “confusing” way of writing did not take away from his writing at all; rather, I feel that it was crucial in his writing to show the complexity of the way humans think and the form of thoughts before they are presented to someone else, and I think that it is a shame that this often chases readers away from his work.

* http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poet...
Laura
I felt that the poems were very creative and smart - with interesting play on words and sounds
however for me these words failed to strike at my heart. The odd line would jump out at my but I found myself lost in the words. It is clear to me why his poems are so well know and so widely studied. For me poetry needs to take you beyond the language and the structure and I found myself resolutely on the page.
Jill
2, 8, 12, 25, 27, 31, 35, 43, 45, 47, 73, 79, 92
Meghan
I adore ee cummings for various reasons as I move through life; at this time, this collection reminds me of how fresh life still is, how color is a miracle, how brilliantly lucky we are to have words to share what is inside our souls. It is pure ee, pure beauty. A treasure.
Jeff
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 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 song. We had to use a marching band recording of Tchaikovsky's "March Slav" but there were also some very good concert songs on that CD as well. One was entitled "I Thank You God.." and was a recording of some choir at the school. Over the years, it's become one of my favorites and every choir seems to sing it differently despite using the same words, so I discovered. It took me until this year to figure out that the song is actually an E. E. Cummings poem, hence why this gal picked up a book of poetry.

ANYWAYS, I enjoyed the selected poems and I need to get over my fears read more poetry in the future. I enjoyed how one poem would beautifully describe nature, while the next talked about farting full oft. Variety is indeed the spice of life.
brook
admittedly, i'm not the biggest cummings fan to ever walk the face of the planet. i haven't spent as much time as i could (or should) analyzing this collection, so my rating is subject to change if/when that ever happens. i can appreciate his method and abstraction, even if i'm far from an expert. following is one of my favourites. i have to smile when i read it, because not only does it offer an explanation as to why he writes the way he does, but also why i appreciate it as much as i do:

"since admittedly, i'm not the biggest cummings fan to ever walk the face of the planet. i haven't spent as much time as i could (or should) analyzing this collection, so my rating is subject to change if/when that ever happens. i can appreciate his method and abstraction, even if i'm far from an expert. following is one of my favourites. i have to smile when i read it, because not only does it offer an explanation as to why he writes the way he does, but also why i appreciate it as much as i do:

"since feeling is first
who pays attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all the flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis"

i have kevin to thank for introducing me to that. at the heart of it all, when i think of e.e. cummings i think of some of the best expressions of love.
Erika
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
and 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
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"
Lady Dixie
One to the great poets of the 20th century. This one's my favorite:

somewhere i have never traveled, 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 have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut One to the great poets of the 20th century. This one's my favorite:

somewhere i have never traveled, 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 have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, 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 color 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
Paula
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 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, even with his most difficult poems, I feel that an overall understanding can be reached without having complete mastery over the subject or nature of each poem; it can be understood in an almost intuitive, or maybe unconscious, way. And, even with a clear sense of play, one can see the formality forced on each piece in terms of rhyme scheme and rhythm (many, many unconventional sonnets are included in this particular book).

Good collection of poems by Cummings and one that regular readers of his work will enjoy. Also an enlightening book for fans of modern American poetry.
Cara
I'm not big into poetry, besides Poe and a very very few select others. But I decided to give Cummings a try and picked up his selected poems, to give me a taste of what he is all about. I don't think I have ever been so moved. Not only is he, himself an extremely interesting man, but his poetry is so out there. Out there...that fits me. The majority of the 100 poems moved me (and nothing really moves me). The styling, the content, the effortlessness in which he writes, is amazing. I'm sure most I'm not big into poetry, besides Poe and a very very few select others. But I decided to give Cummings a try and picked up his selected poems, to give me a taste of what he is all about. I don't think I have ever been so moved. Not only is he, himself an extremely interesting man, but his poetry is so out there. Out there...that fits me. The majority of the 100 poems moved me (and nothing really moves me). The styling, the content, the effortlessness in which he writes, is amazing. I'm sure most people have read Cummings, I see his excerpts on arms as tattoos...whatever. But, what I found most interesting was his style. The style that poets still try to mimic and copy today, without success. This is definitely one of my favorite books. I can flip through, and always find something I like. If you haven't read it, I urge you to try. It may not be for you. But it may surprise you as it did me.
William Schram
With e.e. cummings being the way he is and the title of the book being 100 Selected Poems, I didn't really expect this to take me that long to complete. This particular collection of his work contains all of the ones that I remember he did and more. I actually studied e.e. cummings a bit in High School, but that was a while ago.

If you have read his poetry before, you know what to expect; interesting use of punctuation, no capitalization in some areas, bunching words together for effect and other With e.e. cummings being the way he is and the title of the book being 100 Selected Poems, I didn't really expect this to take me that long to complete. This particular collection of his work contains all of the ones that I remember he did and more. I actually studied e.e. cummings a bit in High School, but that was a while ago.

If you have read his poetry before, you know what to expect; interesting use of punctuation, no capitalization in some areas, bunching words together for effect and other ingenious devices make him out to be quite the wordsmith. Then again, this collection doesn't really show how he was received, though I can assume it was positive if it is still in print and all of that.

Now on to the other thing. This book is quite bare bones when it comes to content. Though it does show the poems with their original typesetting, which is pretty cool. Though I suppose that if they did that it wouldn't be much of a poem anymore.
Jamie Collins
We all have that one book of poetry that is worn and tattered. The reason? Well, it's your shameless emotional mirror during all those times that you stripped it from the shelves to hideaway and be that noone, just the two of you, to share an understanding. The bindings coming unglued, it's tattered at the edges, there are marks all over it (intentional and incidental), it's been dropped, kicked, sat on, stuffed into pockets, and shoved face down. It's stained down the front and on it's back sid We all have that one book of poetry that is worn and tattered. The reason? Well, it's your shameless emotional mirror during all those times that you stripped it from the shelves to hideaway and be that noone, just the two of you, to share an understanding. The bindings coming unglued, it's tattered at the edges, there are marks all over it (intentional and incidental), it's been dropped, kicked, sat on, stuffed into pockets, and shoved face down. It's stained down the front and on it's back side. It was both demonized and hallowed by your favorite ex-girl/boyfriend because that g*dd*m book was given to you as a token of their love and when they headed for the exit with that love they tried to take that book with them. They ripped out your heart then tried to rip out your favorite book of poetry - BUT YOU PULLED HARDER AND...

eh, hey there, how are ya?
Morgane
2013: I first read this a year ago, before I took a poetry workshop and started writing poetry more seriously. Now that I have more context for his poetry... wow. He is delightful. Before I focused more on *what* he was saying; now I can really appreciate *how* he says it. His line breaks aren't confusing anymore, they're fresh and purposeful. I actually laughed aloud a few times when I noticed how ironic he is with poetry ("my sweet old etcetera"). I love his made-up words ("manunkind"). I thin 2013: I first read this a year ago, before I took a poetry workshop and started writing poetry more seriously. Now that I have more context for his poetry... wow. He is delightful. Before I focused more on *what* he was saying; now I can really appreciate *how* he says it. His line breaks aren't confusing anymore, they're fresh and purposeful. I actually laughed aloud a few times when I noticed how ironic he is with poetry ("my sweet old etcetera"). I love his made-up words ("manunkind"). I think a lot of people might look his work and think it's too easy or obvious, the way some people might view abstract painting. But he is remarkably aware of what rules he's breaking, and which ones he respects. It's not at all arbitrary.

Ahh he's just so good.
Jen Helfand
'Now the ears if my ears awake. Now the eyes of my eyes are open.'
The poems and lines that resonated with me really stuck to my ribs and make me say, 'mmmm'. At its best, the writing does that magical heartful thing where the words together form this evocative wide wholeness that fills me so full, more than a collection of words.
So there were those movements I savored. There was also a fair amount that didn't stick, and that I didn't take much time to think about.
The writing style queered a bun 'Now the ears if my ears awake. Now the eyes of my eyes are open.'
The poems and lines that resonated with me really stuck to my ribs and make me say, 'mmmm'. At its best, the writing does that magical heartful thing where the words together form this evocative wide wholeness that fills me so full, more than a collection of words.
So there were those movements I savored. There was also a fair amount that didn't stick, and that I didn't take much time to think about.
The writing style queered a bunch of conventions in a way I dig: punctuation, sentence structure, sensory description. This resonates with me in how it grasps for communicative expression beyond the confines of more normative speech. Feelings and memory extend beyond these conventions.
Jacob
My favorite book as a teenager. Cummings's poems weren't consistently great, but the great ones do shine.

There is some etymological relationship, though probably apocryphal, between the word 'et cetera' and the words denoting a particular family of lutelike stringed instruments, such as 'cithera,' 'cittern,' and 'zither.' Those words in turn bear a resemblance to 'Cytherea,' a name given to Aphrodite, after the island of Cythera. One of them -- I belive it's 'cetera' -- appears in Pietro Aretin My favorite book as a teenager. Cummings's poems weren't consistently great, but the great ones do shine.

There is some etymological relationship, though probably apocryphal, between the word 'et cetera' and the words denoting a particular family of lutelike stringed instruments, such as 'cithera,' 'cittern,' and 'zither.' Those words in turn bear a resemblance to 'Cytherea,' a name given to Aphrodite, after the island of Cythera. One of them -- I belive it's 'cetera' -- appears in Pietro Aretino as a euphemism for a woman's genitals. I'm just saying. Also interesting is: "Bawdy uses of Et Cetera," by Philip C. Kolin, in American Speech, Vol. 58, No. 1. (Spring, 1983), pp. 75-78.
Laura
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 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 Pittsburgh spring, cummings' imagery was perfect.

I read the book cover to cover twice (it's a quick read) and have thumbed through almost daily, to revisit a few that I especially love.
Jay Daze
I vaguely remember Michael Caine using e.e. cummings for seduction in a bookstore in Hanna and Her Sisters. There is a strong romantic/passionate element to certain poems in this collection. Other poems push so hard at language that to my dull brain all they were were words placed in such an alien and odd conjunctions that they were symbols that I struggled to make sense of on any level. That's a pretty good effect. Perhaps not something you want in your next sf novel but something I like findin I vaguely remember Michael Caine using e.e. cummings for seduction in a bookstore in Hanna and Her Sisters. There is a strong romantic/passionate element to certain poems in this collection. Other poems push so hard at language that to my dull brain all they were were words placed in such an alien and odd conjunctions that they were symbols that I struggled to make sense of on any level. That's a pretty good effect. Perhaps not something you want in your next sf novel but something I like finding in my poetry - every once and a while.
Nyssa Sutherland
My absolute favourite poetry book, containing my favourite poem of all time:-

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

and death i think is no parenth My absolute favourite poetry book, containing my favourite poem of all time:-

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

and death i think is no parenthesis
Nicholas Seders
E.E. Cummings was a tremendously clever man (in fact, that's why I gave this piece two stars instead of one); however, I always saw him as a puzzle maker rather than a poet. His pieces are often problems to solve, not verses to enjoy. I find the works of Cummings to be significantly less accessible than those of other 20th Century poets - due to unusual style and complex codes of meaning. Of course, as such a clever writer and master of word play, I can see why people enjoy his poetry; the fact E.E. Cummings was a tremendously clever man (in fact, that's why I gave this piece two stars instead of one); however, I always saw him as a puzzle maker rather than a poet. His pieces are often problems to solve, not verses to enjoy. I find the works of Cummings to be significantly less accessible than those of other 20th Century poets - due to unusual style and complex codes of meaning. Of course, as such a clever writer and master of word play, I can see why people enjoy his poetry; the fact of the matter is that you either love or hate him.
Paula Tohline Calhoun
I loved every word, and can recite many. His poems are heartfelt and express so many different emotions, generally using very few words. His characteristic "grammarless grammar," rather than being off-putting, is very absoring, and moves the reader along at a pace synonymous with and appropriate to the subject matter. His is a unique voice in poetry, and his poems have a timeless quality. He will always be read, in much the same way that Shakespear's sonnets are still read centuries after they w I loved every word, and can recite many. His poems are heartfelt and express so many different emotions, generally using very few words. His characteristic "grammarless grammar," rather than being off-putting, is very absoring, and moves the reader along at a pace synonymous with and appropriate to the subject matter. His is a unique voice in poetry, and his poems have a timeless quality. He will always be read, in much the same way that Shakespear's sonnets are still read centuries after they were written.
shiloh
Poem 99, "now all the fingers of this tree, darling" is one of my favorite poems of all time. Actually, this single book probably contains five of my top-ten favorite poems. My friend Heather gave me this book in high school, and inside the jacket cover she wrote "May e.e. cummings inspire you to be real and honest, even if you make no sense." These poems show and feel everything, all the while saying very little. These are poems about the abstract: love, hate, passion, curiosity. The only concr Poem 99, "now all the fingers of this tree, darling" is one of my favorite poems of all time. Actually, this single book probably contains five of my top-ten favorite poems. My friend Heather gave me this book in high school, and inside the jacket cover she wrote "May e.e. cummings inspire you to be real and honest, even if you make no sense." These poems show and feel everything, all the while saying very little. These are poems about the abstract: love, hate, passion, curiosity. The only concrete aspects are found in form and metaphor.
Souri
I'm not a dab hand at poetry, so it was my greatest and most pleasant surprise when I read this. His unique style of writing forced me to take it in word by word (and read the entire poem through not only once but twice, sometimes three times) and in doing so and appreciating every word, every strange stylistic/aesthetic choice I was seized!
Nick Urban
My introduction to modern poetry consisted of this book, 100 poems, and T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland.

I love them both, and which I pick up off the shelf depends more on my mood than anything. Cummings is funnier, sweeter, and in this collection at least, wrote mostly about love, death, and spring.
Hannah
I'd only ever read a scattered few cummings poems before, so it was great to actually go through a collection! I love the way that I feel, rather than know, his poems. Obviously he has a hugely inventive style, and it's at once playful and deep. The few times I felt let down were on some of the more political, rant-y poems, but by and large I thought it was a beautiful selection.
Angie
This stanza still moves me and was so perfectly placed in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters-
(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 the roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

And of course "a salesman is an it that stinks" makes me laugh, wry and wise!
carissa
Edward Estlin Cummings' poetry might be my favorite. get past the weird punctuation, stop trying to make sense and sentences of it, and learn what poetry is - words that evoke and provoke, rather than explicate. love, society, spirituality: a mashup of the sublime and the earthy. he rhymes more often than you've heard. so good.
Lauren
e.e. Cummings makes me blush, makes me laugh, makes me wish I had one tenth of his grasp of the English language. He manipulates it deftly. My copy of this book is dog-eared and written all over. I ran out of ways to indicate favorite poems and delightful lines. I am in awe and in love with this man, the poet.
KC
I remember reading and loving a poem by e.e. cummings in high school, so I picked up this book in search of that poem... Unfortunately, I not only didn't find my poem, but I really didn't "get" most of the ones in this collection. Wish I was back in English Lit class so my teacher could help me understand cummings.
Jenni Cavallero
E.E. Cummings is a literary genius. It doesn't matter that i can only really grasp a portion of what he is writing the first time reading through. Its beautiful. He shows how words are art, and you can use words to create art. His poems are ones you can read over and over, and each time you read them you read something new.
Sasha
I often worry that liking e. e. cummings is too commonplace, but then I read "Humanity, I love you," and I remember that I don't care. This is a great selection of Cummings's more conventional work, particularly useful for those who are looking for an introduction or an overview.
Heather
Two kinds of people in the world, or so I hear. e.e. fans, and non e.e. fans. I haven't met a lot of non e.e. fans, or at least none that would speak up to me...
maybe i get it, maybe i don't--but I like to read and reread every poem.
James
A wonderful collection. Like the best poets, e e cummings can communicate a deeper meaning, even when a literal one is nearly impossible. The delights of these grammatically incorrect poems are immense and always keep me reading, no matter how obscure they seem.
Andrew
Unearthed for a poetry reading at school - cummings sounds great at spoken word presentations. ee cummings for me will always conjure up high school memories - i still have my annotated copy from those days.
Mugwump Jism
My copy of "100 Selected" is riddled with Pangaea-shaped drink stains, felt-tip markered original poetry, still-folded dog-ears on the longer poems, with circled words and lines linking them, attempts to unravel the cummings code. Cummings taught me poetry. Need I say anything more?
Qasim Zafar
When I first read E.E Cummings, I didn't much care for his style, but over the years I have found myself revisiting his works from time to time, and now regard them as rather refreshing. This small collection of his poems is a good one to have.
Caro
THIS MAN IS BRILLIANT! His ability to carry the reader through wonderful carefully laid prose is astounding. He also really knows how to set a rhythm and create accurate pauses. Loved his use of parenthesis.
Alison
i am writing this all in lower case to honor ee cummings. isn't he an awesome poet? i love his social commentary and unique style! besides, who doesn't appreciate someone who makes their living writing and sees no need to conform even in punctuation?
Louella
Pretty experimental, style wise. If you are looking for measure and precise cadence, you won't find it here. But if this doesn't make you feel, then you are empty inside. Deeply moving and romantic, my first book by EE Cummings and I absolutely love it!
Katie
Not bad. Just... not my thing. I read poetry for enjoyment and insight (shameful, I know), and I felt that I had to wade through a bunch of poems I didn't enjoy to find a gem. I gave up halfway through.
Dorothee
Many poems only became accessible after several reads, others did not reveal themselves at all, but all poems had small lines of beautiful language that could stand for themselves even if the poem as such was not understandable.
Neptune
A well celebrated poet isn't always a good one however I personally do enjoy Cummings. So many bad poets out there making it hard to find the good ones. Swim through a sea of shit and find our award winner in his rightful place.
Grant Talabay
Though only a small portion of the poets cannon, 100 Poems delivers a shock, not only for its intense beauty and the poets ability to write about love, but also because of his one of a kind poetic structure and insane use of punctuation. Give this a shot... You will not be let down!
Leave Feeback for 100 Selected Poems
Useful Links