Love: Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings

Overview

E. E. Cummings, one of the most famous poets of all time, is known for his concise, often sassy poems that speak right to the heart. Illuminated through Caldecott Honor Illustrator Christopher Myers's electrifying artwork, E. E. Cummings' Love: Selected Poems is filled with humor, feeling, and romance for young teens and adults. From "the moon is hiding in her hair" to "may i feel, said he," this book fulfills the Cummings collector's ultimate wishes, and is the perfect gift for anyone interested in the magic and...
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Overview

E. E. Cummings, one of the most famous poets of all time, is known for his concise, often sassy poems that speak right to the heart. Illuminated through Caldecott Honor Illustrator Christopher Myers's electrifying artwork, E. E. Cummings' Love: Selected Poems is filled with humor, feeling, and romance for young teens and adults. From "the moon is hiding in her hair" to "may i feel, said he," this book fulfills the Cummings collector's ultimate wishes, and is the perfect gift for anyone interested in the magic and romance entrenched in the language of love.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this astonishing picture book about sensual love, Myers (Black Cat) combines evocative photographs of people and paintings to create collages that match the startling imagery in cummings's poems. Focusing primarily on the kind of breathless love for which "feeling is first," and a lover can render "death and forever with each breathing," the intense poems are made even more powerful by Myers's brilliant artwork. Each illustration translates the emotions behind cummings's quicksilver metaphors into unforgettable visual imagery. A description of the separation of lovers that "whittles life to eternity/ -after which our separating selves become museums/ filled with skillfully stuffed memories" takes visual form with an arresting image of a person's bare back and shoulders covered with butterflies. Myers unifies the book thematically with repeating images. "Birds who are the secret of living" appear in one poem, escaping a door that covers a young man's heart; and in another, creamy doves circle a nude woman to "cover her briefness in singing/ close her with intricate faint birds." However, despite its formatting as a picture book and its listing as appropriate for "all ages," the book's emphasis upon erotic love makes it more suitable for sophisticated teens and adults than for children-especially the inclusion of a bantering seduction poem-"but it's life said he/ but your wife said she/ .../ (cccome? said he/ ummm said she)." All ages. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Together, poetry and art offer an attractive lesson on visual literacy in this picture book filled with poems by e. e. cummings. The poems were selected from Complete Poems 1904-1962, two-volumes of poetry by cummings, edited by George James Firmage. Most poems appear in their entirety except the ballad, "All in green went my love riding." Others include sexual innuendos and hints of eroticism: "(cccome? said he / ummm said she) / you're divine! said he," suggesting that the collection might be more suitable for mature readers. Myers's art, colorful photographs used to create collages, are the perfect accompaniment for cummings's experimental poetry. The collection would be great for discussing how typography, punctuation, capitalization, and enjambment contribute to the tone and mood of literature. Colors of romance (red, pink) and of envy and jealousy (green, purple) complement the messages of love, both blissful and unrequited, the poems convey. Those familiar with Myers' art work in his own picture books such as Wings (Scholastic, 2000) will recognize themes often found in his work-flight, freedom, individuality. A brown eye in the center of an orange-and-red flower, the back of a white male covered with multicolored butterflies, a young man in a business suit, though shoeless, catapulted through the air-each image could serve as a springboard for creative writing. As beautiful as the book is, students may do little more than marvel at the pictures unless they are encouraged to look deeply into the poems and into the poet's oeuvre. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades10 to 12). 2005, Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 48p.; Illus., Ages 15 to 18.
—KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Myers has assembled a collection of 19 love poems that reflects cummings at his playful, inventive best. They include "since feeling is first," "somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond," and "love our so right/is,all." Difficult and challenging in format, they reward careful readers with metaphysical insight. Myers's artful photographic images on painted backgrounds accompany the selections. The poem "we love each other very dearly" is illustrated with a photo of a woman's face torn in half and arranged along with the text across two pages. Unfortunately, not all of the visual interpretations match cummings's elusive imagery. For the splendid "open your heart:/i'll give you a treasure/of tiniest world/a piece of forever with," the artist crafts an innocuous image of a young man with a bit of sky inserted into his open mouth. The fairly adult connotations of "may i feel said he/(i'll squeal said she" are disconcertingly paired with two fresh-faced teens. Myers's attempt to make these poems accessible to a new generation is admirable, but these lovely and challenging works defy easy definitions.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This perfectly gorgeous offering pairs a selection of cummings's love poetry with startling photo collages. Cummings, never one of the easiest poets, is here playful, erotic, inscrutable and utterly, thoroughly tender by turns. His signature lower-case lines, punctuated by parenthetical phrases that deconstruct and reconstruct meaning: "you will go(kiss me / down into your memory and / a memory and memory / i)kiss me(will go)." Myers's illustrations take the images offered by the poems and give them glorious color, figuring a multicultural (and often little-clad) cast against brightly painted backgrounds and using negative space to layer shapes over and under others. For the most part, he rightly chooses to aim at the overall emotional impact rather than literal depictions, giving the words and reader space to imagine. Disingenuously labeled "all ages" by the publisher, this collection will most appropriately find its home with teens, if they can overcome the picture-bookness of the whole. Those who do will find their burnings and yearnings well-understood by both author and artist. (Picture book/poetry. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786807963
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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