E. E. Cummings Reads: A Poetry Collection
(1953; 1975; 1977; 2001)

With the exception of the six nonlectures, this three-cassette collection brings together all Caedmon recordings of Cummings reading his own poetry and prose. The first cassette is the same as the first Caedmon recording, E. E. Cummings Reading His Poetry. This recording was made in the studio on May 28, 1953. Side one features selections from Him, EIMI, and Santa Claus, while the side two features poems from XAIPE (1950), 1 X 1 (1944), and 50 Poems (1940). This LP was re-released in 2007 in CD format under the name The Essential E. E. Cummings, but it is no longer in print. 

The other two cassettes in the three-cassette E. E. Cummings Reads collection were released in 1975 and '77 as E. E. Cummings Reads his Collected Poetry & Prose: 1920-1958. Here is George J. Firmage's original note to the second album of that collection: 

This new Caedmon album—one of two devoted to the readings of E. E. Cummings (TC 2080/2081)—has been compiled from more than a dozen taped recordings of the poet’s public performances. Carefully preserved by his wife, the late Marion Morehouse, the readings date from 1953 to 1961 and include Cummings’ appearances at the YMHA Poetry Center, Harvard University, the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University, McGill University, Johns Hopkins University, Oberlin College, Eastern Michigan University and the Library of Congress. 

The works recorded were published between 1920 and 1958 with an emphasis, as might be expected, upon the later years. All told there are five prose works and 85 poems.

[Note: In 2005 another CD of Cummings reading his poetry was released: The Voice of the Poet: E. E. Cummings.] 
E. E. Cummings Reads cover

Though the three-cassette collection contains excerpts taken from i: six nonlectures, the recordings of the nonlectures have not been re-issued. It should not be surprising that Cummings avoids reading his visual poems; after all, he himself wrote that "not all of my poems are to be read aloud—some . . . are to be seen & not heard" (Letters 267). For a complete list of readings on E. E. Cummings Reads: A Poetry Collection (2001), see below.

Links: Complete Tracklist

Side One (E. E. Cummings Reading His Poetry, 1953, Caedmon TC 1017)

Him (1926), the acrobat passage (Act 1, SceneTwo);
EIMI  (1933), Lenin's tomb: facefacefaceface (Eimi 240-243; i: six nonlectures 100-103)
Santa Claus (1946), Scene Three: Death masked as Santa Claus (i: six nonlectures 106-108)
Side Two (Page numbers refer to Complete Poems.)
dying is fine)but Death (CP 604; XAIPE #6);
why must itself up every of a park (CP 636; XAIPE #38);
when god decided to invent (CP 566; 1 X 1 #XXVI);
nothing false and possible is love (CP 574; 1 X 1 #XXXIV);
Hello is what a mirror says (CP 570; 1 X 1 #XXX);
who were so(dark of heart they might not speak (CP 640; XAIPE 51);
i say no world (CP 523; 50 Poems 36);
life is more true than reason will deceive (CP 592; 1 X 1 LII);
what if a much of a which of a wind (CP 560; 1 X 1 XX);
one’s not half two. It’s two are halves of one: (CP 556; 1 X 1 XVII);
o by the by (CP 593; 1 X 1 LII);
hate blows a bubble of despair into (CP 531; 50 Poems 43);
yes is a pleasant country: (CP 578; 1 X 1 XXXVIII);
i thank You God for most this amazing (CP 663; XAIPE 65);
"sweet spring is your (CP 591; 1 X 1 LI);
true lovers in each happening of their hearts (CP 576; 1 X 1 XXXVI);
when faces called flowers float out of the ground (CP 665; XAIPE 67)

Side Three (E. E. Cummings Reads his Collected Poetry & Prose: 1920-1940. Originally released in 1975.)
Jottings (i: six nonlectures 70; Miscellany 330-332);
Foreword to a Catalogue for an Exhibition of Cummings’ paintings (i: six nonlectures 68; Miscellany 314-315);
A Poet’s Advice to Students (Miscellany 335);
A Fairy Tale (Miscellany 249-251);
Introduction to Collected Poems (CP 461-462)
from Tulips and Chimneys (1923):
In Just- (CP 27);
O sweet spontaneous (CP 58);
Buffalo Bill’s (CP 90)
from & [AND] (1925):
suppose (CP 189);
spring is like a perhaps hand (CP 197)
from XLI Poems (1925):
little tree (CP 29)
from is 5 (1926):
nobody loses all the time (CP 237);
she being Brand (CP 246)

Side Four

from is 5 (1926):

MEMORABILIA (CP 254); [This poem has been inexplicably left off the 2001 cassette version of EEC Reads.]
a man who had fallen among thieves (CP 256);
"next to of course god america i (CP 267);
my sweet old etcetera (CP 275);
since feeling is first (CP 291)
from ViVa (1931):
i sing of Olaf glad and big (CP 340);
if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have (CP 353) ;
somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond (367)
from No Thanks (1935):
kumrads die because they’re told) (CP 413);
what a proud dreamhorse pulling(smoothloomingly)through (CP 437);
this mind made war (CP 440)
from New Poems (1938):
(of Ever-Ever land I speak (CP 466);
if i (CP 475);
may my heart always be open to little (CP 481);
from 50 Poems (1940):
proud of his scientific attitude (CP 499);
as freedom is a breakfastfood (CP 511);
anyone lived in a pretty how town (CP 515);
my father moved through dooms of love (CP 520):
what freedom’s not some under’s mere above (CP 538)

Side Five (E. E. Cummings Reads his Collected Poetry: 1943-1958. Originally released in 1977.)

from 1 X 1 (1944):

of all the blessings which to man (CP 544);
ygUDuh (CP 547);
a salesman is an it that stinks Excuse (CP 549);
a politician is an arse upon (CP 550);
it was a goodly co (CP 552);
pity this busy monster,manunkind, (CP 554);
(once like a spark) (CP 564);
rain or hail / sam (CP 548);
except in your (CP 575);
all ignorance toboggans into know (CP 579);
darling!because my blood can sing (CP 580);
if everything happens that can’t be done (CP 594)
from XAIPE (1950)
this(let’s remember)day died again and (CP 599);
purer than purest pure (CP 601);
swim so now million many worlds in each (CP 603);
so many selves(so many fiends and gods (CP 609);
jake hates / all the girls(the (CP 619);
when serpents bargain for the right to squirm (CP 620);
who sharpens every dull (CP 624);
open his head,baby (CP 637);
whose are these(wraith a clinging with a wraith) (CP 639);
neither awake (CP 640);
this is a rubbish of human rind (CP 647);
no time ago (CP 648);
the little horse is newlY (CP 657);
the great advantage of being alive (CP 664);
now all the fingers of this tree(darling)have (CP 667);
luminous tendril of celestial wish (CP 669)

Side Six

from 95 Poems (1958)

now air is air and thing is thing:no bliss (CP 675);
crazy jay blue) (CP 677);
because you take life in your stride(instead (CP 679);
dominic has (CP 680);
both eaching come ghostlike (CP 681);
maggie and milly and molly and may (CP 682);
in time's a noble mercy of proportion (CP 675);
So shy shy shy(and with a (CP 683);
but also dying (CP 685);
in time of daffodils(who know (CP 688);
that melancholy (CP 697);
what Got him was Noth (CP 702);
handsome and clever and he went cruising (CP 709);
who(is?are)who (CP 715);
-laughing to find (CP 716);
i love you much(most beautiful darling) (CP 717);
noone and a star stand,am to am (CP 721);
you no (CP 727);
out of the lie of no (CP 736);
over us if(as what was dusk becomes (CP 741);
whatever’s merely wilful, (CP 742);
stand with your lover on the ending earth— (CP 743) ;
let’s,from some loud unworld’s most rightful wrong (CP 745);
i am a little church(no great cathedral) (CP 749);
how generous is that himself the sun (CP 756);
now(more near ourselves than we (CP 760);
joyful your complete fearless and pure love, (CP 761);
unlove's the heavenless hell and homeless home (CP 765);
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in (CP 766)

Back to:
Some Cummings Links . . .


People, Places, and Publications page

the Spring home page