For the Record
[Spring 6 (1997): 187-192]
- Lewis Miller previously published a companion
piece to his present article herein on "she being Brand / -new," entitled
"Advertising in Poetry: A Reading of E. E. Cummings’ ‘POEM,OR BEAUTY HURTS
MR.VINAL,’" Word & Image, 2, 4 (October–December 1986), 349–62.
- Bernard Stehle organized the Third Cummings
Centennial Exhibit at the Community College of Philadelphia, October 14–December
I’m an MFA candidate at Eastern Washington University,
currently teaching a weekly poetry workshop at Airway Heights Correction Center,
as well as an Intro to Literature class at Spokane Falls Community College.
- Tom Hunley of Cheney, Washington, whose poem
appeared in our previous issue, wrote us:
As part of my graduate degree, I have to take a
comprehensive exam on seven modern poets and seven contemporary poets of
my choice. Cummings sits next to Gertrude Stein at the top of my list of
modernists, because of the musicality of his work, and because of his ability
to be inventive within traditional structures and his willingness to branch
out of them when necessary. On his 100th birthday, my friend Sarah Monahan
and I made a cake for him, which we brought in to our poetry writing workshop
at Eastern. Sarah found one of Cummings’ poems that talked about birthdays,
so we lettered that on top of the cake.
- We received the following letter from the University
of Cordoba in Spain:
My name is Antonio Ruiz Sánchez
and I am a member of the English Department at University of Córdoba
(Spain). I have always been in love with Cummings. Therefore, when the Head
of my Department, years ago, allowed me to choose any topic of North-American
poetry, I decided to work on Cummings for my PhD. I discovered, to my surprise,
that although Cummings is in most of the anthologies on American poetry we
use in Spain, he is still a rather unknown poet, even within academic contexts.
In fact, he is missing in many of the syllabi on American Literature of the
I am doing my best to mend this unfair situation.
Cummings’ work is taught at Córdoba University now; his poetry will
also be present at the next congress of the Spanish Association for American
Studies that will be held next April in León where I will present a
paper. Also, a review on one of the Spanish translations has been published
in the local newspaper, and a public reading of some of his poems will be
held next Tuesday (12/11/1996) in one of the most fashionable locales of
my city (Córdoba) within he ‘First Meeting on North American Poetry’
organized by the magazines Plurabelle and Recuento.
I am also researching on the situation of Cummings’
work in Spain: the possible influence of Cummings’ poetry on some Spanish
poets, the Spanish translations of his books and poems, and the level of knowledge
of him by he general public. I will be able to offer you and the journal
Spring a paper entitled ‘Cummings in Spain’ during this year1. As
you know, Cummings is a hundred percent an American writer; however, his
European experience was crucial in his life and work and, in my opinion, there
is still a lot of work to be done on this aspect.
I would also like to join the E. E. Cummings Society
and to help you with anything you need in the future (I have enclosed the
You probably know already this reference to Cummings:
The famous writer Octavio Paz refers to a trip of Cummings and Dos Passos
through Spain. He also talks about several meetings between himself and Cummings
in New York (in Spanish: Traducción, Literatura y Lierareidad.
Barcelona: Tusquets, 1990).
[Editor's note: here is the English reference for the Paz article: Paz,
Octavio. "E. E. Cummings." The Siren and the Seashell. Trans. Lysander
Kemp and Margaret Sayers Peden. Austin: U of Texas P, 1976. 131-136.]
- Gayl Teller, who has previously contributed
poems to Spring, and who also appears in this issue, published her
second book of poems in 1996. Entitled Shorehaven, it is a fond recapitulation
of her girlhood, youth, and marriage as marked by summer vacations at Shorehaven
in the Bronx. Contact Gayl should you wish to purchase copy: One Florence
Lane, Plainview, New York 11803.
- Spring is reviewed briefly in Small
Press Review, 28, 7–8 (July–August 1996), Issues 282–3, 18; and Taproot
Reviews, Issue #9/10, n.d., 13.
- A professor of English at Cambridge University
and a fellow of Trinity College, Anne Barton is a reviewer for the New
York Review of Books, interestingly having the same name as Cummings’
- Glen McCloud of Hartford, Connecticut, sent
us a clipping from the New York Times, Monday, September 23, 1996,
Dance Review Section, by Jennifer Dunning, mentioning a dance by choreographer
Douglas Woods based on "somewhere i have never travelled." Dunning’s comment
comes from a very strange reading of that poem: "a flowing, boldly simple
duet, danced to the music by Arvo Part, for lovers . . . soon to [be] separated
by death." Comments anyone?
- The Juilliard String Quartet and Orchestra,
conducted by Gerard Schwartz, performed David Diamond’s "Concerto for String
Quartet and Orchestra," Avery Fisher Hall, October 7, 1996.
Last October 31 on a TV program titled "Maloney"
a schizo, trying to hang on to his sanity, begins reciting (to himself) snatches
of poetry, including the line "as freedom is a breakfast food." (No mention
of Cummings.) Forbes magazine for November 18, 1996 on the "Thoughts"
page (always the last in the magazine) quotes Cummings: "May I be wrong,
for whenever men are right they are not young." Richard Morris in his book
titled Cosmic Questions observes on page 135: "It would be possible
to say that theories of nothingness have become an important part of cosmology
in the last few years. . . . a new field, known as quantum cosmology . .
. examines the ways in which the universe might have come into existence.
And more often than not, scientists in this field form hypotheses about ways
in which it might have been formed out of nothing." Ah! Would Cummings smile?
- The following note was received from Robert
Wegner of Vestaburg, Michigan, December 17, 1996:
- Publisher Harry Smith’s newsletter, International
Titles, which came out in early 1997, refers to "in Just- / spring" several
- Friedman’s granddaughter, Rachel Raman, has
a new computer, and she brought up on the screen the entry for Cummings in
Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia to show grandpa, and there
was that old canard about the poet having changed his name to lowercase.
We have written to Compton’s, but so far without reply.
- Robert Wegner sent us an item from Time
magazine, April 21, 1997, page 32, about the new trendiness of the lowercase
"e," and concluding, "Can the e. e. cummings revival be far off?"
- Roger Gozdecki, proprietor of "The Book Shop"
in Covina, California, and one of our benefactors, sent us a copy of Firsts:
The Book Collector’s Magazine, April 1997, containing his article, "An
Uppercase [N.B.!] Poet: E. E. Cummings," 28–41, wherein he kindly mentions
- The following people presented talks on Cummings
at the American Literature Association conference in Baltimore, May 23–25,
1997: Larry Chott, Claudia Desblaches, William Harmon, Lisa Nunn, and Michael
Webster. We hope to publish them in our next issue. Friedman and Stehle served
as chairs. Daniel Barnes was also scheduled to participate but he was unable
to attend—he promised to send us his paper, however.
- The ever-vigilant Robert Wegner sent us a book
ad from the Paperback Book Club brochure for Eros (Linda Ferrer,
curator of photography, and Jane Lahr, text editor), featuring sensual photographs
and erotic writing, including E. E. Cummings.
- Liveright has published paperback editions of
ViVa and Xaipe, and will bring out an edition of Cummings’
experimental poetry edited by Richard Kostelanetz, as well as an edition
of the erotic poetry.
- Richard Kostelanetz spoke on "Downtown Writing
and the Literature of SoHo: The New York Avant-Garde from E. E. Cummings
through John Cage," at the Fales Library, New York University, May 8, 1997.
- We received this fax from Dr. Curtis Steele
of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on May 7, 1997:
I want to express my appreciation to
you for the absolutely wonderful Fall issue of Spring. I’ve read it
and am re-reading it with the greatest pleasure. I particularly appreciate
getting to know Cummings as a human being, through the accounts of those who
were "close" to him and Marion Morehouse; and from those who have carefully
studied his life and art.
I’m an enthusiastic Cummings fan. I marvel at the
subtle levels of meanings contained within the juxtaposition of words, spatial
arrangements and images. I continue to be amazed to discover and re-discover
poems that are fresh that I can’t recall having seen before. So many quotes
from him suggest themselves at this point that I’ll decline to use. Well,
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened) [Complete
I continue to be puzzled by those who rank him as
less than a major poet. I don’t understand (or want to) the politics of academic
poetica. I suppose he’s not much different from William Shakespeare who’s
still being accused of being incapable of writing Shakespeare. I suspect,
but probably won’t be around to prove it, that Cummings will be read, apprehended,
and appreciated long after many of he so-called Major Poets of the 20th century
will be curiosity items for English doctoral candidates in search of a thesis.
- Yasuo Fujitomi performed "The Elephant
and the Butterfly" in Japanese to an audience of 120 in Urawa city near Tokyo
on May 11, 1997. Natsuko Kotake played the piano and became the butterfly.
Yasuo played and read a double role as narrator and the elephant. There were
also slides projected, seven drawn by himself.
- Kurt Harris writes: "I recently read a book
entitled Tuesdays with Morrie, and a portion of ‘my father moved through
dooms of love’ was quoted therein. The book is a biographical piece on Brandeis
professor Morrie Stein’s final months of life, and his son read the Cummings
poem at Morrie’s funeral." The book is by Mitch Albom (Doubleday, 1997).
- Gerry Locklin was one of four recipients of
the Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievements Award at California
State University, Long Beach, for 1996–97.
- Michael Welch reports the sighting of a Cummings
poem set to music on Michael Hedges’ 1990 compact disc, Taproot (Windham
Hill Records 1093). The song entitled "I Carry Your Heart" is a beautiful
version of "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in / my heart)" (Complete
766), featuring Hedges on vocals, with harmony vocals by Graham Nash and
David Crosby. Tragically, Michael Hedges was killed in a car accident in
northern California in December of 1997.
- An article on "she being Brand" by Karen Alkalay-Gut
appeared in JML 20, 2 (Winter 1996): 254–258, entitled "Sex and the
- Taimi Olsen gave birth to a baby boy, Charles
Blayne Beeson, 18 June 1997. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces.
- Spring’s assistant editor, Michael Dylan
Welch, is a featured interview subject in the 1998 edition of Poet’s Market
(Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books),
- Liveright’s Victor Schmalzer alerted us to a
number of style manuals using "e. e." instead of "E. E.," and so far we’ve
contacted the Chicago Manual of Style, which has replied with its
pledge of cooperation.
- Noburu Tanikawa writes that Yasuo Fujitomi edited
Selected Poems of E. E. Cummings in Japanese, with some translations
by Noburu, who has also published Please Accept E. E. Cummings in
a private edition.
- Martin Heusser published "Transcendental Modernism:
E. E. Cummings’ Moon Poems" in Aspects of Modernism, eds. Andreas
Fischer, et al., Gunter Narr, Verlag Tübingen, 1997, 56–73; and I
Am My Writing: The Poetry of E. E. Cummings, Stauffenburg Verlag, 1997,
Germany. We’re arranging to have the book reviewed for our next issue.
- Allen Krantz and Janet Eilber performed "anyone
lived" at Occidental College, Los Angeles, November 7 and 8, 1997.
- The Blue Heron Theatre will stage Steve Scotti’s
"e.e.!" in April of 1998 in the Northeast and Long Island. We have requested
"E.E.!" but so far haven’t heard.
- We are organizing two panels on Cummings for
the American Literature Association conference in San Diego, May 28–31, 1998.
Slated to present papers are Claudia Desblaches, Michael Welch, Taimi Olsen,
Rajeev Kumar Kinra, Millie N. Kidd, John Gill, and Isabelle Alfandary. John
Gill and Taimi Olsen will serve as panel chairs. As usual, we hope to publish
some of these papers in a future issue of Spring.
- E. E. Cummings has been elected to The Poets’
Corner in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. Cummings,
along with cohonoree Louise Bogan (1897–1970), was inducted during a public
vespers service on Sunday, October 26, 1997. Selections from the work of
both poets were read by Grace Schulman, William Jay Smith, Dana Gioia, and
Rachel Hadas. Following the service, the Very Reverend Harry H. Pritchett,
Jr., dean of the cathedral, dedicated the stones commemorating the poets.
E. E. Cummings’ stone
is inscribed with the words, "A world of made / is not a world of born" from
his sonnet, "pity this busy monster,manunkind" (Complete 554). Spring
#7 will have a complete report of this event.
- We have heard from Barbara Lindtner that Jere
Knight passed away in June of 1996. Barbara is married to Jere’s son Jeff.
- We mourn the passing of Judah Stampfer, New
York City, a longtime friend of the Friedmans and supporter of the Society.
Poet, critic, novelist, teacher: he shall be missed.
- Aaron Kramer, poet and translator, died on April
7, 1997, at the age of 75. He has contributed to the Journal several times,
and also appears in this issue. His obit appeared in The New York Times,
Saturday, April 12, 1997.
* * *
"ends are beginnings with their hats on"
—E. E. Cummings
Contents Issue 6
EEC Society News