Insight into an Architect of Poetry

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  • Topic: E. E. Cummings, Ezra Pound, Harvard University
  • Pages : 5 (1437 words )
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  • Published : April 15, 2012
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Insight into an Architect of Poetry
Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962) will forever be an inspiring architect of poetry. He has written 2,900 poems, two novels, four plays, and many essays; less known for his many drawings and paintings. He was raised in a well-educated home; his dad was a Harvard professor and he had an enliven mother. He attended Harvard University where he worked on the school newspaper wherein many of his poems were published. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and then went onto receive his Master’s Degree in English and Classical Studies. Towards the end of his college career he was influenced by Gertrude Stein (discovered theory of stream of consciousness) and Ezra Pound (expatriate poet and critic who developed imagism). These accomplishments provide proof that E.E. Cummings was certainly an educated “man of letters”. When E.E. Cummings was 23 he enlisted in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps in Paris. He had five weeks to spend in Paris before he started and he fell in love with the city. During his service he openly expressed anti-war views and was sent to a concentration camp in Normandy for three and a half long months. He arrived back on United States soil on New Year’s Day 1918. A couple months later that year he was drafted into the army where he served in the 12th Division in Massachusetts. Cummings traveled all over Europe but his favorite place was Paris, he collaborated with other modernists like Pablo Picasso. When Cummings was thirty-seven he traveled to the Soviet Union, he published his experience in Eimi. His life was taken over by the war; it shaped who he was along with his turbulent personal life. In 1926 when Cumming was thirty- two his father was killed and his mother was left severely injured in a car accident. This life changing experience helped Cumming’s transition into a new period where he focused on aspects of life in his poetry. He was Unitarian and as he grew older he became closer to God. Cummings’ stole his roommate’s girlfriend, Elaine Orr, and had a child with her when he was in the service in France. He was married to her for a curt two months until she met a rich Irish banker, she moved to Ireland and took their daughter. Elaine refused to let Cummings see his daughter until she was twenty-three years old. He married his second wife in 1929 and they separated three years later. It was during this time that Cummings met his true love, Marion Morehouse, a fashion model and photographer. They lived in a common-law-marriage until he died in 1962. These personal experiences undoubtedly affected his unique style and structure of his poetry. Much of Cummings’ work is traditional; many poems are sonnets with a modern twist. He commonly writes about love, nature, and the relationship between the individual and humanity as a whole. His writing was the product of influences from the modernist era, imagist era, Dada, and surrealism. He uses a particular idiosyncrasy of syntax, characteristic of arranging individual words into larger phrases and sentences. Cummings often uses a punctuation scattered around, most do not make sense until you read them aloud unlocking the clarity of meaning and emotion. Cummings was also a painter, he used typography to paint a picture with some of his poems. His poems are addressed to engage both the eye and the ear. There are many myths as to why E. E. Cummings name was spelt all lowercase on occasion, some say his publishers did it while others say he had his name legally changed to be that way. she being Brand by E.E. Cummings, 1926

she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff i was
careful of her and(having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
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