“All in green went my love riding,” one of E. E. Cummings’s most celebrated poems, was published in 1923 in Tulips and Chimneys, Cummings' first published collection of poems. Written in the early years of Cummings’s career, it is perhaps one of the avant-gardist’s more conventional, less eccentric works.
“All in green…” survived the harsh editing process that cut many of the “unconventional” poems from Tulips and Chimneys. Because of these omissions, some Cummings scholars identify the unedited 1922 original (titled Tulips & Chimneys, with the ampersand) as the more accurate source of this poem. Read alongside the deleted, more experimental poems of this collection (which were in fact published in 1925 under the title &), “All in green…” exhibits many divergences from the avant-garde, state-of-the-art style with which we often identify Cummings. The poem hearkens back to classical tropes and landscapes, and parodies the medieval ballad form.
Also to be noted is Cummings’s intent in placing this poem alongside other poems of similar form and subject matter. Tulips & Chimneys lists “All in green…” as the fifth poem in a sub-series titled “Songs.” The nine different “Songs” collectively explore nature, love, the mythical, and the liminal. “All in green…” must be understood as part of a continuous process through which Cummings explores these images and themes, rather than in isolation from other poems that seem more representative of Cummings’s literary experimentalism.