By E. E. Cummings
E.e. cummings is with out query one of many significant poets of this century, and this quantity, first released in 1959, is quintessential for each lover of contemporary lyrical verse. It comprises 100 of cummings’s wittiest and so much profound poems, harvested from thirty-five of the main significantly inventive years in modern American poetry. those poems show all of the outstanding lyricism, playfulness, technical ingenuity, and compassion for which cummings is known. They show superbly his extrapolations from conventional poetic constructions and his departures from them, in addition to the original synthesis of lavish imagery and acute creative precision that has gained him the adulation and admire of critics and poetry fans everywhere.
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Extra resources for 100 Selected Poems
J. 13 Just as Greenberg’s “Laocoon” may be read, as he says, as “an historical apology for abstract art,” so Eliot’s “Tradition” may be read as an historical apology for modernist poetry. Moreover, like Eliot, and unlike most postwar American art critics of comparable stature, Greenberg never sought long-term employment in the academy, nor did he produce large-scale synthetic works of scholarship or theory—again like Eliot, his critical reputation rests on a handful of essays. Each of these critics in his turn, then, placed stringent limits on his relations B ORROWING PAINTS FROM A GIRL 9 with the “most powerful phases” of the institution of art.
This, at least, is the ending of the poem as it appears in Moore’s first collection, Observations, as well as in all subsequent editions of her collected poems. However, in the first published version of the poem, the final line, following those cited above, reads, “then I ‘take it in hand as a savage would a looking-glass’” (BMM 255). Here, as in “the savage’s romance” of “New York,” the “savage” represents both unrestrained American capitalism and the pre-commercial culture it displaced. ” Yet her deletion of this beautifully equivocal line from the subsequent published versions of this poem suggests that Moore feared that in a world ruled by market forces, her desire for possession could never be fully purified of its commercial associations.
As Benjamin suggests in the passage with which I began, some works of art, or of history, complicate our sense of what constitutes the inside and outside of any given cultural or social territory. My aim, therefore, may not in fact be to rescue the “other tradition” represented by the line I trace between Moore, Cornell, and Ashbery, if by “rescue” one means to move these figures from the margins to the center of “the” modernist tradition. It is not just, as I have remarked, that none of them need rescuing in this sense, but that such an effort would run against the grain of their work.
100 Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings