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October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962
E.E. Cummings, in full Edward Estlin Cummings, was an American poet and painter who first attracted attention, in an age of literary experimentation, for his unconventional punctuation and phrasing. Cummings’s name is often styled “e.e. cummings” in the mistaken belief that the poet legally changed his name to lowercase letters only
“Complete Poems”, “Eimi”, “The Enormous Room”, “i: six nonlectures”, "Tulips and Chimneys"
Edward Estlin Cummings was born on October 14, 1894, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father was a minister and professor, while his mother instilled in the youngster a love of language and play. Cummings went on to earn both his B.A. and his M.A. by 1916 from Harvard University, where his father taught, before going on to serve in World War I overseas as a volunteer for the ambulance corps.
Cummings’s linguistic experiments ranged from newly invented compound words to inverted syntax. He varied text alignments, spaced lines irregularly, and used nontraditional capitalization to emphasize particular words and phrases. In many instances his distinct typography mimicked the energy or tone of his subject matter. He frequently used colloquial language and material from burlesque and the circus. His erotic poetry and love lyrics had a childlike candour and freshness and were often vividly infused with images of nature.
Cummings died on September 3, 1962, in North Conway, New Hampshire, from a brain hemorrhage, leaving legions of poems as a literary legacy. An overview of his writing can be found in E.E. Cummings: Compete Poetry, 1904-1962, while other published volumes include Erotic Poems, The Early Poems of E.E. Cummings and Fairy Tales.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
“Unbeing dead isn't being alive.”
“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.”