somewhere I have never traveled,gladly beyond Critical Essays

e. e. cummings

Critical Overview

(Poetry for Students)

When discussing the critical reception of “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond,” one should first examine cummings’s overall reputation, since his poetry has often been described in absolute positive or negative terms, especially in the first half of his career when he wrote “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond.” Cummings’s unique structural style and unconventional use of punctuation was disturbing to many of his contemporary critics, and people tended to either love his poetry or hate it. As R. P. Blackmur notes in his influential 1931 article for the Hound & Horn, “Critics have commonly said, when they understood Mr. Cummings’ vocabulary at all, that he has enriched the language with a new idiom.” At the same time, Blackmur also indicates that the “typographical peculiarities” of Cummings’s poetry “have caught and irritated public attention.” The negativity aimed toward cummings’s poetry can also be seen, indirectly, in the relative lack of formal criticism of the poet, especially during these early decades.

In subsequent decades, as more poets began to employ unconventional forms and techniques, cummings’s reputation also improved. As Robert E. Maurer notes in his 1955 article for the Bucknell Review, “It is unfortunate that most of the critical appraisals of Cummings’ poetry were made early, shortly after his first books were published.” Maurer disputes the idea that...

(The entire section is 354 words.)