Edward Estlin Cummings, known to most of his readers as e. e. cummings, first published “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond” in 1931 in his poetry collection, ViVa. As with all of his other poems, the author did not give this poem an actual title. For purposes of identification, editors simply refer to each of cummings’s poems by its first line. The poem is very clearly a love poem, and cummings is renowned for his love poetry. Critics, however, have singled this poem out as one of cummings’s best love poems.
The poem details the profound feelings of love that the speaker has for his beloved, and his wonder over this mysterious power that the woman has over him. Over the course of the short poem, the speaker examines and praises this power, and notes how his beloved has transformed him. The speaker in the poem may or may not be cummings himself, although the intensity of emotion expressed in the poem leads one to believe that the poet is describing his own experiences. When cummings published “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond,” he had been married to Anne Barton for two years. While Barton might have been the source of the poem’s inspiration, this inspiration would have been short-lived, for cummings and Barton divorced a year later, in 1932. A current copy of the poem can be found in E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904–1962, which was published in hardcover by Liveright in 1994.