E.E. Cummings: Defender of Individualism and Non-Conformity

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E.E. Cummings-
Defender of Individualism and Non-Conformity

E. E. Cummings established himself as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, triumphing in hundreds of poems that struck his readers with a sense of awe and imagination. Cummings' poems stand out among other poems as amazingly unique. Cummings was a staunch advocator of the individual, going against the grain of traditional, conformist poet. Cummings experimented with words on a page to make pictures and called it poetry; imaginably, it was controversially received at the time. But Cummings refused to mold into what every other poet was writing and always strived to stand out. He once wrote that, "so far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art was and is and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality…" Cummings was still a staunch individual as he aged, but his work slowly started to resemble, (not imitate) New England Transcendentalism. Initially, Cummings was a "…scornful artist, skillful punster, and staunch defender of the noncomformist.", later, he picked up "a mode…that…represents the artistic development and the most mature expression of his personal philosophy." (Bloom 59). The "mode" that Mr. Bloom mentions was Cummings' gradual use of transcendental ideas, a philosophy pioneered by Ralph Waldo Emerson asserting that high truth is not tangible, but rather complex and abstract in nature (Bloom 59). E. E. Cummings wrote concerning his position on transcendentalism through the concept of love that:

"I am someone who profoundly and humbly affirms that love is the mystery-of- mysteries and that nothing measurable matters ‘a very good God d_____': that ‘an artist, a man, a failure' is no mere…automaton, but a naturally and miraculously whole human being…whose only happiness is to transcend himself, whose very agony is to grow."(Bloom 59)

Literary criticism also recognizes his lenience towards transcendentalism by noting that,

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