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This review is taken from PN Review 157, Volume 30 Number 5, May - June 2004.

W/ONDER/FUL E.E. CUMMINGS, 73 Poems, ed. George James Firmage. Unpublished and Uncollected Poems (Liveright/Norton) £8.95/$12.00

Contents, 73 poems and one page of Afterword are the uncluttered whole of this book. 29 new (in 1962) poems from a folder of typescripts given to George Firmage by Marion Morehouse after Cummings's death (in 1962) and other `uncollected poems published only in periodicals up to that time' make up the 73. The works were thus completed, this collection being first published in 1963.

Annoying, silly, glorious, amazing, iconoclastic, traditional, dull, ponderous, light, spiky, moving, flippant, juvenile and wise - take your pick. All are represented here, from the wonderful no.20,

fearlessandbosomy

this
grand:gal
who

liked men horses roses

& $(in
that
order)is

             wHISpEr

it
left;at the age
of

8

ysomethi
ng
(imagine)

with,pansies

whose obituary intent - as with that of `Buffalo Bill's' - finds expression in the fizzy realities of a life that is graspable, to the unwonderful no.1 (`O the sun comes up-up-up in the opening / sky') with its moo-woo, stimp-stamp, grint-grunt, wugglewiggle and champychumpchomps, where the terminating rooster is welcome.

In between comes the perhaps (here) straitened and/or softer spectrum of Cummings themes - love and sex, spring, death, the identity of the self and the other - the birds, the urban uglinesses and the What-Is-Truth; and the perhaps (here) straitened and/or softened spectrum of forms and language, punctuation, ...


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