From the Archives: ‘Christmas Poem’ by e. e. cummings

Over the past 160 years, The Atlantic has published the work of some of the world’s most notable poets, from Walt Whitman to Emily Dickinson to Pablo Neruda. In the last years of his prolific career, e. e. cummings joined their ranks, contributing three poems to the magazine in the 1950s. His “Christmas Poem,” printed in December 1956, was the last to appear. The poem presents a modernist take on the familiar story of Jesus’s birth, showcasing cummings’s characteristic free verse and artful syntax while evoking the mystical wonder of the holiday. The issue’s cover, featuring “The Space Child’s Mother Goose,” captured the same sense of unconventional nostalgia. — Annika Neklason