[Spring 2 (1993): 3-5]
You may notice that this issue of our Journal is somewhat more slender than Number One, but we want to assure you that this is not because of any shortage of material or slackening of interest. The fact is that last year we were not very experienced in producing this new format, and so we inadvertently ran over our budget in the process of printing 144 pages. We had originally projected 96 pages, and we are now aiming to keep the journal somewhat closer to that size.
Mentioning the budget brings us to the question of financing the Journal. As of this writing, we are still entirely self-supporting. Our income depends upon subscriptions and gifts, with the shortfall being made up out of our own pockets (although there is some hope that the Centennial Committee may manage to obtain some grant funds for thc Journal). We therefore appeal to our readers to keep up to date on subscription payments and even to be one ahead, and also to solicit subscriptions from your colleagues, departments and libraries.
Gifts are also eminently welcome. Since Issue Number One went to press in June of 1992, the following people have been kind enough to donate extra funds to the Journal: Ardelle Stryker, Bernard Stehle, Sterling Dean, and George Firmage. Friedman is contributing the stipends earned from presenting the New School Course on Cummings (see People and Events), and from giving a talk on The Ring and the Book for the Browning Society, Richard S. Kennedy, President. Grateful thanks are due to all concerned.
We turn now to the contents and organization of this issue. The first three articles by—Forrest, Richards, and Faulkner—are intended to form something of a group, centering around various not-specifically literary matters: Cummings' dreams, musical settings of his poems, and the problem of preserving some record of his painting and drawings (over and above the hard-to-find CIOPW). We feel such matters contribute significantly to the ever-broadening and deepening context in terms which our interpretation and appreciation of the literary oeuvre itself may become richer and more significant. [end page 3]
The next two essays resume the ever-continuing task of understanding and evaluating various aspects of that oeuvre itself. The first takes up the as-yet insufficiently-studied question of Cummings' influence, and we would encourage others to take up the line so interestingly developed by Locklin. In the second, Headrick continues his intensive work on The Enormous Room this time focusing on some of the technical features of the work when considered formally.
Gerber's study of Charles Norman's relationship with the Cummingses tills the fertile ground opened up so effectively by Kennedy's Dreams in the Mirror. Coming under the rubric of a biography of the biography, this piece, as did Kennedy's assessment of the poetry in our first issue, tends toward cutting down our nonhero to size.
However, while we have no intention of limiting these pages to mere adulatory pieces, and indeed feel that Cummings' reputation and influence can only be enhanced by a judicious sorting-out of his strong and weak points, we would also add that most of our major literary figures have shied away from the biographer's searchlight—J. D. Salinger being a recent conspicuous example—claiming that the only legitimate interest people should have is their published works.
We would not argue against biography this way, but we do wish to suggest that writers must sometimes be painfully aware of the disparity between their difficult personal lives and the image of themselves embodied in their writings. Indeed, F. Scott Fitzgerald has said somewhere that writers often turn to their own books when they want to learn how to live. Cummings' attempts to control his public image, then, should be seen in that context. On the other hand, he was paradoxically careful to save all his papers and notebooks for posterity to sort out, and we do indeed get a fuller picture of the man and his career from this material-with which much more remains to be done (cf. Forrest's piece herein). Perhaps Cummings was simply concerned with protecting his privacy while he was still alive.
We would also welcome, incidentally, alternative views to Kennedy's "placing" Cummings as a poet in our first issue.
A group of poems follows, and again we remind our readers that [end page 4] we favor shorter pieces, for reasons of space, and while we do not seek imitations of Cummings, we do want work that is in some way in his spirit-and well done, of course, as well.
The piece by LaPalma falls somewhere between an essay and a poem, and we place it next as having its own unique flavor.
We then introduce, as promised last year, two new departments, "For the Record" and "People and Events," and we hope these will pique your interest and perhaps move you to contribute.
"The Centennial" section brings us up-to-date on the events occurring around and being planned for 1994.
We conclude, as before, with the second half of Rotella's invaluable Reference Guide.
The papers by Richards and Gerber were first presented at the American Literature Association Conference in Washington, DC, May 1991, and that by Locklin was given at the American Literature Association Poetry Symposium, organized by Jacqueline Brogan, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, November 1992.
We are dropping the Volume Number of SPRING, as it looks as if we're going to be an annual for the time being, and are simply calling the present edition of this Journal "Issue Number Two."
[Spring 2 (1993): 6]
As part of a summer sabbatical in 1979 while employed at Horizon House, Inc., a psychosocial rehabilitation agency in Philadelphia, I "backpacked it" to New Hampshire with my girlfriend, hitching rides all the way to the object of our "love pilgrimage": Joy Farm, the poet's Silver Lake residence that had recently been purchased by a couple in Concord, Mass. They had given us their blessing to explore the property at our own somewhat risk, so worn and weather-weakened and overgrown had the long-uninhabited house and spacious grounds become-though graced still by the distant majesty of Mt. Chocorua that dewy morning of our arrival.
Finally in the clearing, I hadn't noticed at first that it was the rear of the house that confronted us. Then we were there, spellbound. Eerilyout of season, an old sled leaning against the slatted frame of the back porch drew me to its lyrically lettered, single item of spoiled vocabulary...
[end page 6]
[Editor's note: Since it is possible that our jpeg scan of the cover of issue 2 is not wholly clear to the internet viewer, we offer here in more legible form the word painted on the sled: "WINNER."
Remember, "nobody loses all the time" (is 5 ONE, X; CP 237).]
Contents, Issue 2
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