TULIPS & CHIMNEYS by E. E. Cummings

TULIPS & CHIMNEYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Substantially Cummings' first book of poems, originally published in 1923, now first in a series to be printed in typescript. Cummings contended that linotype did a disservice to his spacing, in which case reproductions of his original pages would have been worthwhile, but these are typescripts based on the originals. There are only a few pages where it might have mattered regardless, and then in the minutest detail. Also restored here are 86 poems displaced from the author's manuscript by the publisher when the book first appeared. Forty of the 86 were published in 1925 as XLI Poems, and that same year Cummings published privately the remaining 45 poems with 34 new ones under the title &. The restored order of Tulips & Chimneys adds a dimension to any understanding of the relationships Cummings saw in this early work, though the 34 poems left over from & and tacked on to the back of this edition lose that same dimension. In the introduction Richard S. Kennedy attributes to Cummings a precedent-setting role in visual effects (ignoring Apollinaire's earlier accomplishments) and in avoiding ""worn-out poetic diction"" (ignoring others' achievements, as well as Cummings' own lapses such as ""--immortality whence are the high gods fled?"" and all those ""thous"" and ""trees""); and he implies that the course of modern poetry might have been different had this version been published when first offered, two years before Eliot's ""Waste Land,"" instead of a few years afterward. Mainly of use to Cummings scholars, and perhaps his most avid fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1976
Publisher: Liveright