E e cummings
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e.e. cummings. ingenious and insightful analysis by chloe viner. his life and back round.

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e.e. cummings

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E e cummings

e.e. cummings

ingenious and insightful analysis by chloe viner


His life and back round

his life and back round

  • e.e. cummings or edward estlin cummings was born right here in our neck of the woods, cambridge, ma. in 1894. His father, also an edward cummings was professor of sociology and political science at harvard University. in 1900 he became an ordained minister.

  • as a child, e.e. cummings attended Cambridge public schools and lived during the summer with his family in their summer home in Silver Lake

  • Cummings got his b.a. and m.a. in english and classics at harvard. cummings was not only a poet he was also a painter.

  • in ww1 cummings volunteered to be an ambulance driver in france, and had the horrific experience of being interned in a prison camp because he was anti-war and wrote a letter about it, which was intercepted. He wrote a book about this experience entitled the enormous room.

  • as you all probably know cummings is most famous for his strange use of form.

  • cummings used punctuation, spelling and syntax, in a way that was completely revolutionary.. !

  • when he died at the age of 68 in he was the second most widely read poet in the united states, second only to robert frost.


Since feeling it first

since feeling it first

since feeling is first

who pays any attention

to the syntax of things

will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool

while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,

and kisses are a far better fate

than wisdom

lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry

--the best gesture of my brain is less than

your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for eachother: then

laugh, leaning back in my arms

for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis


My interpretation of the poem

my interpretation of the poem

  • to me this poem is a deep interpretation of love and the inadequacy of human expression.

  • also he is saying that emotion is preeminent and is more meaningful than intellectualization.

  • the first stanza implies that anyone who is too wrapped up in the “syntax of things” will never understand true love.

  • the second stanza is more complicated but pulls across the same basic message that “kisses are a far better fate than wisdom” almost as if saying it is ok not to understand love, because it is worth the experience.

  • the line “life is not a paragraph” implies that life is not something that can be easily put forth and understood. The last line that death is not a parenthesis is saying that death may not be an expanding part of life, as parenthesis expand something. there for we should make the most of life.

  • to me cummings use of punctuation emphasizes the meaning of this poem that life is not a paragraph and is not clearly structured with periods and commas but rather a jumble of things.


Who knows if the moon s

who knows if the moon’s

  • who knows if the moon's a baloon,coming out of a keen city in the sky--filled with pretty people? (and if you and i should get into it,if they should take me and take you into their baloon, why then we'd go up higher with all the pretty people than houses and steeples and clouds: go sailing away and away sailing into a keen city which nobody's ever visited,where always             it's                     Spring)and everyone's in love and flowers pick themselves


My interpretation of the poem1

My interpretation of the poem

  • this poem is a fantasy dream full of vivid imagery. but also conveys the meaning of a out of body experienced in a dream like way.

  • “we’d go up higher with all the pretty people” expresses how life would be if everyone was able to achieve a picture of their dream reality.

  • In this world of fantasy everyone is content as “everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves.” cummings uses the line “in the sky-filled with pretty people” to convey a dream world both in a literal and symbolic way. While the person is reaching their ideal experience or dream,, the imagery is also similar to that of an actual dream state.

  • “a balloon, coming out a keen city” could be symbolic of expanding your views as one literally expands their vision in a hot air balloon.


Form the shape of the poem

form: the shape of the poem

  • turn to page 897 in your text

  • e.e. cummings uses free verse/open-form poetry. Open form poetry avoids restrictions and traditional patterns, something that cummings is famous for.

  • Cummings also specialized in visual poetry/shaped verse by arranging his words into patterns that were visually pleasing or emphasized the meaning of his poem.


E e cummings a timeline

e.e. cummings, a timeline:

  • 1894 – e.e. cummings was born

  • 1916 – cummings graduated from Harvard

  • 1922 – cumming's published his book the enormous room

  • 1920s – cumming’s paintings and drawings exhibited in New York City

  • 1923 – cumming’s published his book of poems tulips and chimneys

  • 1924 – cummings Married elaine orr

  • 1925 –cummings divorced elaine orr

  • 1929 – cummings Married anne barton

  • 1932 – cummings divorced anne barton

  • 1950s – cummings began reading his poetry to audiences

  • 1952-53 – cummings held the charles eliot norton lectureship

  • 1955 - poems earned a special citation from the national book award committee

  • 1959 – cummings received a two-year $15,000 grant from the ford foundation

  • 1962 - cummings' died

  • 1968 –cummings book of complete poems was published

  • *this information was compiled from: http://www.geocities.com/blondelibrarian/literaryexplorer/authors/eecummings.html


The end

the end


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