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Lost E.E. Cummings Poem Surfaces

By Harriet Staff

James Dempsey, while working on an autobiography of Scofield Thayer, came across a lost E.E. Cummings poem in a stack of poems and correspondence Cummings had sent to Thayer, then co-owner of The Dial. Thayer championed Cummings’ poems early in his career and the two became very close friends. Cummings even went on to marry and impregnate Thayer’s ex-wife, Elaine Orr, as the article points out. Thayer and Cummings remained close friends for many years, until Thayer succumbed to paranoid schizophrenia. A facsimile of the entire poem is available on the second page of the article, which closes with the following, from Dempsey:

Now we have this new, unknown and unpublished text, like an echo of Modernism coming down the years, the poem “(tonite,” which shows a young writer experimenting with language and form, trying to make his words do things they had never done before. It seems appropriate—wryly so—that one hundred years after Cummings met the man who would support his art and launch his literary career, and who would share with him the woman who became his muse, that Scofield Thayer should yet again be the agent by which a poem of E.E. Cummings is published.


Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.