C is for Cummings, E.E.

E. E. CummingsE.E. Cummings, 1894-1962

I’m a fan. His poetry is sparse and experimental and moving and, when he decided to become a poet as a young child, he proceeded to write a poem a day until he was twenty-two. Pretty amazing.

For more on E.E. Cummings, check out his biography at the Poetry Foundation.

One of my faves…

ee cummings cutout

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

What’s your favorite poem?


26 thoughts on “C is for Cummings, E.E.

  1. Kristine C. Asselin (@KristineAsselin) says:

    I suppose you know it’s National Poetry Month? Of course you do…

    I wrote so much poetry in high school (didn’t we all?), but don’t really have a favorite poem or poet. I always liked longer form better. That said, I just read my first book in verse (Caroline Starr Rose’s May B), and it was fantastic.

    • katyupperman says:

      I kind of love books in verse, Kris. You should check out Lisa Schroeder’s work. She writes lovely verse novels, and they’re quick reads, too.

  2. Sophia Richardson says:

    I like ‘i like my body’. It would be a good one to have memorised, but so far I can only remember the first few lines off the top of my head. As for favourite poem EVER: what are you trying to do to me, I couldn’t possibly choose just one? But probably a Kim Addonizio one, maybe the one about the red dress (‘What Do Women Want?’).

  3. Rebecca B says:

    I can’t choose one poem! But I do love E. E. Cummings; like Sophia, “i like my body” is a favorite and, oddly enough, “little tree,” which is Christmas-y. I also love Mary Oliver’s poems–her DREAM WORK is excellent. Yay poetry!

  4. elschneider says:

    I do love E.E. Cummings – and I Carry Your Heart is one of my favorites from him – I also love In Time of Daffodils, too.
    But I think my absolute favorite poem is probably The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost…I’ve loved this one since I had to memorize it in the 7th grade and recite it back to the class (funny how I hadn’t really a clue what it all meant back then!).
    As always, great post, Katy – what a great way to start off my morning!

  5. Jaime Morrow says:

    What a wonderful poem 🙂 I’m ashamed to say I don’t read a whole lot of poetry. I really should change that, and poems like this make me more eager to do so. Thanks for sharing it, Katy 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I’d like to start reading more poetry too, Jaime. Often, poems are a quick way to absorb beautiful words and, hopefully, find inspiration in them.

  6. Tamara Narayan says:

    I can narrow it down to two: Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening and Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge–another cool ‘c’ poet.

  7. Elodie says:

    I love that poem! (and on total unrelated topic: it also reminds me of the movie In Her Shoes…)
    Anyways, I used to read more poetry and some of my favorites included Jacques Prevert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Baudelaire…And I remember vividly one of the first poems I had to learn when I was still quite young which was written by Ronsard in the 16th century…(my own very fast translation follows)

    When you will be very old, at night by the chandelier,
    Sitting by the fire, talking and knitting
    Saying singing my verse, astonished
    “Ronsard celebrated me when I was beautiful”


    I will be under the earth, ghost without bones
    By mysterious shadows, I will take some rest
    You will be an old woman sitting by the fire

    Regretting my love and your proud disdain
    Live, if you believe me, do not wait until tomorrow
    Pick as soon as today the roses of life…

  8. Krispy says:

    I love e.e. cummings! I love the way he plays with language and form, and there’s just something so exuberant in his poetry! I don’t know that I can name a favorite, but the one that caught my attention in high school was Spring Time. 🙂

  9. Alison Miller says:

    A poem a day until he was 22?! WOW!

    I don’t know if I have a favorite poem, although I’ve been in and out of Paradise Lost lately, but some of my favorite passages of the Bible do come from the Psalms. And Ellen Hopkins is one of my favorite authors. And yes, I really did just say I liked both the Bible and Ellen Hopkins in the same paragraph. 🙂

    Great post, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      That poem a day until twenty-two detail blows my mind as well. Such discipline! Oh, and don’t hate me, but I’ve yet to read Ellen Hopkins. I know! Must remedy NOW!

  10. Jessica Love (@_JessicaLove) says:

    I love that poem!

    My very favorite poem is “If You Forget Me” by Pablo Neruda. For me, it’s exactly what love is.

    I want you to know
    one thing.

    You know how this is:
    if I look
    at the crystal moon, at the red branch
    of the slow autumn at my window,
    if I touch
    near the fire
    the impalpable ash
    or the wrinkled body of the log,
    everything carries me to you,
    as if everything that exists,
    aromas, light, metals,
    were little boats
    that sail
    toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

    Well, now,
    if little by little you stop loving me
    I shall stop loving you little by little.

    If suddenly
    you forget me
    do not look for me,
    for I shall already have forgotten you.

    If you think it long and mad,
    the wind of banners
    that passes through my life,
    and you decide
    to leave me at the shore
    of the heart where I have roots,
    that on that day,
    at that hour,
    I shall lift my arms
    and my roots will set off
    to seek another land.

    if each day,
    each hour,
    you feel that you are destined for me
    with implacable sweetness,
    if each day a flower
    climbs up to your lips to seek me,
    ah my love, ah my own,
    in me all that fire is repeated,
    in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
    my love feeds on your love, beloved,
    and as long as you live it will be in your arms
    without leaving mine.

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