My new book of Helen Vendler essays includes a piece called "Ammons, Berryman, Cummings," which first appeared in The Yale Review in 1973. (The piece does not appear to be available online. The Yale Review's online archive goes back only to 1980.)
I've loved Cummings' poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town" since the first time I read it (in an anthology of poems to be read aloud). Vendler's review of Cummings' Complete Poems, published in 1968, introduces several other poems of similar style and feeling, including "my father moved through dooms of love" (heartbreaking), "somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond," and "may i feel said he."
Many of Cummings' more experimental poems are, in Vendler's words, "unreadable-aloud." She also observes that "[C]ummings' first and last lines are nearly always ... his memorable ones, and most of his poems sag in the middle. .... Cummings was capable of stunning parts, and these parts glitter on the page like sparklers ... but the scraps don't organize into constallations, the music falls into notes and remains unorchestrated." (Vendler follows the convention of not capitalizing the poet's name, although Wikipedia tells us he did not actually prefer this.)
Vendler criticizes Cummings' works for their "stereotyped," "utopian affirmations," which she says represent "a guerrilla war against intellect." Perhaps the poems linked to above are exceptions (and indeed Vendler quoted "may i feel said he" as such), but I do not think there is anything particularly utopian about them. They perhaps reflect a yearning for a utopia, but they certainly acknowledge that our world is not one.
Women and men(both dong and ding)(from "anyone lived in a pretty how town") That having been said, Vendler unquestionably has read more of Cummings' poems than I have, so her impression of his work's overall import is no doubt valid. Makes me want to take another look and find out.
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain