A Concise Site Dedicated to Four of the Most Influential Poets of the 20th Century

Go Home! T.S. Eliot W.B. Yeats E.E. Cummings D.H. Lawrence A Little About My Self

E.E. Cummings Poems

in Just

my love is building

Buffalo Bill's

O sweet spontaneous

since feeling is first

Edward Estlin Cummings

One of the most innovative poets of American poetry in the 20th Century, Edward Estling Cummings saw the paper as a canvas on which to paint the words he imagined.

E.E. Cummings was born in 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at an early age began reading such classics as Milton and Shakespeare. He dedicated his studies to exactly this field, receiving degrees in English and classical studies from Harvard. His imprisonment under false spying charges while a volunteer in France during World War I led to his first novel 'The Enormous Room' in 1920.

Influenced greatly by cubic paintings, Cummings began creating experimental structures with his typewriter, using different forms of syntax and enjambment to express images and emotions. Cumming's themes, however, were traditional commentaries on love and nature. He prized the individual above all else, often satirizing society's collective concerns.

The famous ' i ' found in many of Cummings poems, for instance, was emblematic of how Cummings perceived his poetry. ' I ' was different from ' i,' he explained, because one was a confident and self-efficacious, while the other was insecure and hesitant. Near the end of his life, and always accompanied by his third wife, Cummings gave readings of his poetry to packed houses who were mesmerized by the witty poet.

© Copyright 2003 Jorge Aguilar