E.E. Cummings often wrote with deliberately unconventional spelling and syntax. It was popularly criticised when published; however, did his editors try to "fix" his work before it was published?

If not, how did Cummings convey his intentions to the editors? If so, did they know about his intent and disagree?


1 Answer 1


They cut his work a lot, and he couldn't do much about it.

His first book of poetry, Tulips and Chimneys (T&C), was especially edited. The original manuscript contained 152 poems, but only 86 were actually published in the books. The others were published two years later in 1925 under the title '&' - Cummings wanted the original book to be titled 'Tulips & Chimneys (with an ampersand)' but was overruled by his editor - Thomas Seltzer. Thomas changed the title to just Tulips and Chimneys, and then published the later poems under the title & (changing 'ampersand' to just 'and')

When Cummings reviewed the cut-down T&C, he was unhappy. However, he conceded, but insisted that the original order of the poems was kept.

So in answer to your question - yes, they knew about his intent and disagreed. I assume thy had conversations about it though.

Sources: 1, 2, 3 and 4


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