Reviews — From the March 2014 issue

Mostpeople’s Poet

Is E. E. Cummings a serious writer?

Download Pdf
MicroFiche

Discussed in this essay:

E. E. Cummings: A Life, by Susan Cheever. Pantheon Books. 240 pages. $26.95.

E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904–1962, edited by George James Firmage. Liveright. 1,136 pages. $50.

I cannot be the only member of my generation who was introduced to E. E. Cummings by Woody Allen. The poet has a cameo in Hannah and Her Sisters, when Elliot, the buttoned-up British businessman played by Michael Caine, is attempting to woo Lee (Barbara Hershey), the most bohemian and romantic of the characters — and the sister of his wife. Running into her accidentally-on-purpose on the gritty SoHo block where she lives, he asks, somewhat absurdly, if there is a bookstore nearby, and she takes him to a crowded secondhand shop. As “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” plays in the background, Elliot takes an edition of Cummings’s poetry from the shelf and tells Lee he wants to buy it for her. The poem on page 112 reminds him of her — perhaps they could discuss it sometime? It’s the one that ends with the line “nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands,” and as Lee reads it in bed that night, she realizes Elliot is in love with her.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $39.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Share
is the author of A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (Oxford).

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Gateway to Freedom

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Guns and Poses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Christmas in Prison

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Poison Apples

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Growing Up

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content