my e.e. cummings top 10 lists

(Last update: Tuesday, October 21, 2008)

Truth be told, a couple of my favorite e.e. cummings poems don't appear to be findable on the Web. The following ones, however, were extant as of mid-August, 2002. Liveright Publishing, a division of W.W. Norton & Co., owns the rights to cummings' work; copyright resides with the E.E. Cummings Copyright Trust. (My copy of Complete Poems 1913-1962 was published in 1972 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ironic considering that its predecessor company Harcourt, Brace was among those who were the pointed recipients of "No Thanks" in that volume's initial dedication.) Anyway, order yourself a copy from

Despite all the fooferaw having to do with his capitalization, punctuation, and other unconventional conventions, many cummings poems are really elegant and careful sonnets--sometimes three quatrains and a couplet, nearly as often an octave and sestet. And of course the subject matter is as traditional as can be. Here, then, some highlights.

top 10 poems on the Web

  1. from spiralling ecstatically this (some random commentary appended)
  2. somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond
  3. if everything happens that can't be done
  4. i thank You God for most this amazing
  5. what of a much of a which of a wind
  6. anyone lived in a pretty how town
  7. the greedy the people
  8. a man who had fallen among thieves
  9. Jehovah buried,Satan dead,
  10. i am a little church(no great cathedral)

top 10 quotable phrases

  1. how do you like your blueeyed boy
    Mister Death
    --Buffalo Bill's
  2. Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet bellowings.
    --my mind is
  3. Personne ne m'aime et j'ai les mains froides.
    -- (search in page for word "precarious")
  4. unless statistics lie he was
    more brave than me:more blond than you
    i sing of Olaf glad and big
  5. I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
    than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
    --you shall above all things be glad and young
  6. unbeingdead isn't beingalive
  7. Progress is a comfortable disease.
    --pity this busy monster,manunkind,
  8. Rain is no respecter of persons
    the snow doesn't give a soft white
    damn Whom it touches
    --i will cultivate within (scroll down the page)
  9. and the duckbilled platitude lays & lays
    and Lays aytash unee
    --remarked Robinson Jefferson
  10. tomorrow is our permanent address
    --all ignorance toboggans into know