E.E Cummings Essay

Submitted By dvd23
Words: 1059
Pages: 5

Daniel Vu-Duc
April 5, 2013
The Life of E.E Cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings, mostly known as E. E. Cummings, was a highly impressive poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He was a very intelligent man, and his parents helped him greatly through his life. They supported him, and encouraged him early on, which influenced his work experiences, which then changed his life forever. Cummings experimented with poetic form, language, spelling and syntax, in order to develop his own style of writing. After being criticized for his abnormal style, he still didn’t change how he wrote. Having a unique, and different approach to his work, Cummings is one of the most appreciated poets of his time. E. E. Cummings was born, October 14, 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to a professor at Harvard, then minister of the South Congregational Society, Unitarian, of Boston, Edward Cummings, and a Rebecca Cummings. He had one sister named Elizabeth, and was raised into a well-known family. His house was “built in 1893 in a type of architecture called Colonial Revival, it was an imposing three-story house of eighteen rooms, most of which contained fireplaces” (Dumas p16). As a young child, he had his mother read him stories about myths and animals, and writers like Scott, Dickens, Defoe, Swift, and Verne. Going into college, he attended Harvard University, where he wrote poems which appeared in publications like The Harvard Advocate. He wrote in all kinds of ballads and different stanza forms. “Clearly influenced by Gertrude Stein's syntactical and Amy Lowell's imagistic experiments, Cummings's early poems had nevertheless discovered an original way of describing the chaotic immediacy of sensuous experience” (Dumas p 39). Gertrude Stein was part of the Avant-Garde Movement. “Avant-Garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism”(Marks p 96). She was a major influence on his writing because his poems are obviously not normal in any way. Cummings stayed in Harvard for 4 years and an extra year, in which he earned an M.A degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In 1917 he wanted to avoid being drafted into the army for WWI, so he joined the Norton Harjes Ambulance Corps in France. After being accused of espionage, the French sent him to a concentration camp. After several months, he was released and came back to the United States. After his experience he wrote about his anti-war views in his first novel The Enormous Room. Shortly after, Cummings spent some of his time with drama. His first play Him was a big hit, and grew rapidly. Cummings was married three times and only had one child. His only child, Nancy was to his first wife Elaine Orr. Nancy was married and living in the United States with Willard Roosevelt, a grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. After not being able to see Nancy because Elaine didn’t allow him to, he was joyed that he was able to and wrote a one act play called Santa Claus, describing his relationship with Nancy. As he got older, he traveled the world, spent time at his summer home in New Hampshire, and fulfilled speaking engagements. On September 3, 1962, at the age of 62, he died of a stroke in North Conway, New Hampshire. Cummings was raised well by his parents, and because he had the education, and life experiences like going to war, he was able to understand what the world was like. He was against the war, and for equality, which was very important to him. In every piece of work he did, he did not capitalize his name because he feels that it is empowering him over everything else. He is also known for never using any capitalized letters at all. The most important thing that he was so popular for was the “I” and “i”. Like his name, the “I” is not capitalized