e.e. cummings

e.e. cummings (1894 - 1962)

Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to liberal, indulgent parents who from early on encouraged him to develop his creative gifts. While at Harvard, where his father had taught before becoming a Unitarian minister, he delivered a daring commencement address on modernist artistic innovations, thus announcing the direction his own work would take. In 1917, after working briefly for a mail-order publishing company, the only regular employment in his career, Cummings volunteered to serve in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance group in France. Here he and a friend were imprisoned (on false grounds) for three months in a French detention camp. The Enormous Room (1922), his witty and absorbing account of the experience, was also the first of his literary attacks on authoritarianism. Eimi (1933), a later travel journal, focused with much less successful results on the collectivized Soviet Union.

At the end of the First World War Cummings went to Paris to study art. On his return to New York in 1924 he found himself a celebrity, both for The Enormous Room and for Tulips and Chimneys (1923), his first collection of poetry (for which his old classmate John Dos Passos had finally found a publisher). 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. The games they play with language (adverbs functioning as nouns, for instance) and lyric form combine with their deliberately simplistic view of the world (the individual and spontaneity versus collectivism and rational thought) to give them the gleeful and precocious tone which became, a hallmark of his work. Love poems, satirical squibs, and descriptive nature poems would always be his favoured forms.

A roving assignment from Vanity Fair in 1926 allowed Cummings to travel again and to establish his lifelong routine: painting in the afternoons and writing at night. In 1931 he published a collection of drawings and paintings, CIOPW (its title an acronym for the materials used: charcoal, ink, oil, pencil, watercolour), and over the next three decades had many individual shows in New York. He enjoyed a long and happy third marriage to the photographer Marion Morehouse, with whom he collaborated on Adventures in Value (1962), and in later life divided his time between their apartment in New York and his family’s farm in New Hampshire. His many later books of poetry, from VV (1931) and No Thanks (1935) to Xaipe (1950) and 95 Poems (1958), took his formal experiments and his war on the scientific attitude to new extremes, but showed little substantial development.

Cummings’s critical reputation has never matched his popularity. The left-wing critics of the 1930s were only the first to dismiss his work as sentimental and politically naïve. His supporters, however, find value not only in its verbal and visual inventiveness but also in its mystical and anarchistic beliefs. The two-volume Complete Poems, ed. George James Firmage (New York and London, 1981) is the standard edition of his poetry, and Dreams in a Mirror, by Richard S. Kennedy (New York, 1980) the standard biography. e. e. cummings: The Art of His Poetry, by Norman Friedman (Baltimore and London, 1960) is still among the best critical studies of his poetic techniques.

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Poems By e.e. cummings


!blac… (1) (15 Comments »)
“Gay” is the captivating cognomen (31 Comments »)
(and i imagine… (XII) (4 Comments »)
(Me up at does) (33 Comments »)
(will you teach a… (12) (5 Comments »)
)when what hugs stopping earth than silent is… (16) (7 Comments »)
1(a… (a leaf falls on loneliness) (80 Comments »)
2 little whos (12 Comments »)
a clown’s smirk in the skull of a baboon (4 Comments »)
a man who had fallen among thieves (11 Comments »)
a pretty a day (7 Comments »)
a total stranger one black day (13 Comments »)
all ignorance toboggans into know (4 Comments »)
All in green went my love riding (19 Comments »)
all which isn’t singing is mere talking (7 Comments »)
am was. (7 Comments »)
anyone lived in a pretty how town (165 Comments »)
as freedom is a breakfastfood (10 Comments »)
because i love you)last night (6 Comments »)
because it’s (3 Comments »)
between the breasts (10 Comments »)
Buffalo Bill’s (39 Comments »)
but if a living dance upon dead minds (8 Comments »)
but mr can you maybe listen there’s (5 Comments »)
but the other (3 Comments »)
buy me an ounce and i’ll sell you a pound. (6 Comments »)
dead every enourmous piece (2 Comments »)
Doveglion (5 Comments »)
dying is fine)but Death (27 Comments »)
ecco a letter starting”dearest we” (2 Comments »)
enter no (6 Comments »)
Epithalamion (3 Comments »)
fl… (2) (10 Comments »)
flotsam and jetsam (1 Comment »)
FOREWARD, is 5 (2 Comments »)
gee i like to think of dead (10 Comments »)
guilt is the cause of more disorders (5 Comments »)
hate blows a bubble of despair into (4 Comments »)
here is little Effie’s head (9 Comments »)
here’s to opening and upward (2 Comments »)
Humanity i love you (21 Comments »)
i am a little church (8 Comments »)
i am so glad and very (5 Comments »)
i go to this window (1 Comment »)
i have found what you are like (9 Comments »)
i like my body when it is with your (39 Comments »)
i shall imagine life (8 Comments »)
i sing of Olaf glad and big (23 Comments »)
i thank you God for most this amazing (43 Comments »)
if everything happens that can’t be done (11 Comments »)
if i have made,my lady,intricate (2 Comments »)
if I should sleep with a lady called death (4 Comments »)
if there are any heavens my mother will (8 Comments »)
If you can’t eat you got to (3 Comments »)
if you like my poems let them (26 Comments »)
in a middle of a room (6 Comments »)
in Just- (99 Comments »)
in spite of everything (5 Comments »)
in time of daffodils (12 Comments »)
into the strenuous briefness (1 Comment »)
INTRODUCTION from New Poems (3 Comments »)
it is at moments after I have dreamed (10 Comments »)
it may not always be so (18 Comments »)
Jehovah buried,Satan dead, (19 Comments »)
kumrads die because they’re told) (9 Comments »)
l(a (20 Comments »)
lily has a rose (4 Comments »)
listen… (III) (1 Comment »)
Little Tree (13 Comments »)
love is a place… (58) (7 Comments »)
maggie and milly and molly and may (129 Comments »)
Marianne Moore (35) (1 Comment »)
may i feel said he (50 Comments »)
may my heart always be open to little… (19) (11 Comments »)
moan… (7) (1 Comment »)
mr youse needn’t be so spry… (XVIII) (3 Comments »)
mrs… (15) (No Comments »)
my father moved through dooms of love (10 Comments »)
my girl’s tall with hard long eyes… (XIX) (2 Comments »)
my love is building a building… (XII) (1 Comment »)
my mind is… (XXV) (4 Comments »)
my sweet old etcetera… (X) (11 Comments »)
n(o)w… (5 Comments »)
next to of course god america i… (III) (35 Comments »)
nobody loses all the time (X) (11 Comments »)
nobody loved this… (4) (2 Comments »)
nothing false and possible is love… (XXXIV) (5 Comments »)
now does our world descend… (7 Comments »)
Now i lay(with everywhere around)… (44) (6 Comments »)
now is a ship… (9) (2 Comments »)
now what were motionless move(exists no… (89) (No Comments »)
O sweet spontaneous (5 Comments »)
of all the blessings which to man… (IV) (No Comments »)
Of Nicolette (2 Comments »)
once like a spark… (XXIV) (2 Comments »)
one’s not half two. It’s two are halves of one: (5 Comments »)
ordinary wind is winding(cold face blush (No Comments »)
Picasso… (XXIII) (6 Comments »)
pity this busy monster,manunkind… (XIV) (15 Comments »)
Poem, Or Beauty Hurts Mr. Vinal (8 Comments »)
proud of his scientific attitude… (13) (1 Comment »)
r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r (42 Comments »)
red-rag and pink-flag… (11) (5 Comments »)
she being Brand… (XIX) (18 Comments »)
silence… (40) (3 Comments »)
since feeling is first… (VII) (52 Comments »)
six… (21) (1 Comment »)
Skating (4) (1 Comment »)
Snow (28 Comments »)
Sometimes I Am Alive Because With (3 Comments »)
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond (119 Comments »)
speaking of love(of… (LV) (2 Comments »)
spoke joe to jack… (10) (4 Comments »)
Spring is like a perhaps hand (6 Comments »)
spring omnipotent goddess Thou (2 Comments »)
suppose… (VIII) (3 Comments »)
supposing i dreamed this)… (IX) (No Comments »)
the boys i mean are not refined (18 Comments »)
the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls (14 Comments »)
the Noster was a ship of swank… (8) (No Comments »)
the way to hump a cow is not… (14) (20 Comments »)
there are so many tictoc… (3 Comments »)
there is a here and… (19) (No Comments »)
this evangelist… (XXIX) (2 Comments »)
this is the garden: colours come and go,… (IX) (1 Comment »)
this(let’s remember)day died again and… (No Comments »)
Thy fingers make early flowers of… (IV) (7 Comments »)
Tumbling-hair/ picker of buttercups/ violets… (V) (5 Comments »)
up into the silence the green… (41) (6 Comments »)
voices to voices,lip to lip… (XXXIII) (3 Comments »)
warped this perhapsy… (9) (4 Comments »)
what if a much of a which of a wind… (XX) (19 Comments »)
when faces called flowers float out of the ground… (67) (1 Comment »)
when god lets my body be (5 Comments »)
when hair falls off and eyes blur And… (L) (1 Comment »)
when life is quite through with… (II) (2 Comments »)
when serpents bargain for the right to squirm… (22) (12 Comments »)
Where’s Madge then, (No Comments »)
who knows if the moon’s… (VII) (14 Comments »)
who sharpens every dull… (26) (No Comments »)
why did you go… (IV) (2 Comments »)
yes is a pleasant country… (XXXVIII) (11 Comments »)
yonder deadfromtheneckup graduate… (V) (2 Comments »)
you being in love… (XII) (10 Comments »)
you said Is (XIII) (2 Comments »)
you shall above all things… (22) (2 Comments »)
youful… (17) (3 Comments »)
your little voice… (I) (4 Comments »)

73 poems

. Seeker Of Truth (21 Comments »)

is 5

. I Am A Beggar Always (8 Comments »)



. i carry your heart with me (513 Comments »)

W {ViVa}

. a light Out) (3 Comments »)