Combining Thoreau's controlled belligerence with the brash abandon of an uninhibited bohemian, E. E. Cummings, together with Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and William Carlos Williams, helped bring about the twentieth-century revolution in literary expression. Today Cummings is recognized as the author of some of the most sensuous lyric poems in the English language, as well as one of the most inventive American poets of his time. Formally fractured and yet gleefully alive and whole, at once cubistic and figurative, Cummings's work expanded the boundaries of what language is and can do.
With a new introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn, this redesigned, newly corrected, and fully reset edition of Complete Poems collects and presents all the poems published or designated for publication by E. E. Cummings in his lifetime. It includes 36 poems that were first collected in the 1991 edition and 164 unpublished poems issued in 1983 under the title Etcetera. It spans his earliest creations, his vivacious linguistic acrobatics, up through his last valedictory sonnets.
In the words of Randall Jarrell, "No one else has ever made avant-garde, experimental poems so attractive to the general and special reader."
E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. He was also a playwright, a painter, and a writer of prose. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he studied at Harvard University and, during World War I, served with an ambulance corps in France. He spent three months in a French detention camp and subsequently wrote The Enormous Room, a highly acclaimed criticism of World War I. After the war, Cummings returned to the States and published his first collection of poetry, Tulips Chimneys, which was characterized by his innovative style: pushing the boundaries of language and form while discussing love, nature, and war with sensuousness and glee. He spent the rest of his life painting, writing poetry, and enjoying widespread popularity and success. Stephen Dunn is the author of poetry collections including What Goes On: New and Selected Poems 1995-2009 and Here and Now. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection Different Hours. He has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Richard Stockton College, he lives in Frostburg, Maryland, with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd.