e. e. cummings, 1894-1963

In 1923 the publisher Thomas Seltzer published a collection of poems by e.e. cummings entitled Tulips and Chimneys. It was the first volume dedicated entirely to cummings’s poetry and contained what is perhaps his most well-known poem buffalo bill’s.

The title cummings wanted for the collection was Tulips & Chimneys, but the publisher overruled him. Also only 86 of the original 152 poems that cummings submitted were included in the collection.

In 1925 cummings self-published some of the missing poems, together with 34 new ones, in a volume entitled &.

6 thoughts on “&

  1. Many centuries ago I read Cumming’s first poem he had written when he was still a child:
    “little birdie oh, oh, oh
    with your tiny toe, toe, toe.”

  2. Hmm, [i]Buffalo Bill’s[/i] is not really to my taste (I far prefer the instant accessibility of Betjeman) but to what was e.e. referring when he wrote “and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat ” ? Presumably the sadly now extinct passenger pigeon [i]Ectopistes migratorius[/i], but why “break” ?

  3. Philip,

    Yes I wondered about that too. One theory I have is that it refers to clay pigeons that BB shot at during his wild west show.

  4. Ah, yes; hadn’t considered that option; seems extremely reasonable. Apologies for the BB code in the preceding message; brain has increasing problems engaging gear as tempus fugit (I maintain a web site for Cranbrook & District Probus, and recent edits have variously referred to Cranbrook, Cranford and Cranfield, much to my embarrassment).

  5. Philip,

    No apologies necessary. I think the BB code is quite charming. As for the inter-braincell semaphore breakdown situation: it is a scenario with which I am all too familiar.

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