E. E. Cummings The Style & Life of E. E. Cummings
Background • Edward Estlin Cummings born October 14, 1894 in Cambridge, MA • wanted to be a poet since childhood and wrote a poem each day from age 8 to 22 in various styles • painter and writer - approximately 2,900 poems, 2 autobiographical novels, 4 plays, a few essays, numerous drawings and paintings • name often written as e.e. cummings, in the style of some of his poetry
E. E. Cummings's personal experiences strongly influence his unconventional style of writing.
Education • Harvard University - specialized in Greek and other languages • learned traditional forms and styles, read classical stories • exposed to modern poetry
Combination of Traditional and Unconventional Styles being to timelessness as it’s to time, by e. e. cummings being to timelessness as it’s to time, love did no more begin than love will end; where nothing is to breathe to stroll to swim love is the air the ocean and the land (do lovers suffer?all divinities proudly descending put on deathful flesh: are lovers glad?only their smallest joy’s a universe emerging from a wish) love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun more last than star -do lovers love?why then to heaven with hell. Whatever sages say and fools, all’s well • "All in green went my love riding" - allusions to a Greek myth • "Puella Mea" - Latin for "my girl"
Modernism • interested in modern poetry that ignored proper grammar and syntax • influenced by writers such as Amy Lowell, Dada, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein (author of Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog)
Religion • transcendentalist* although his family was Unitarian "a salesman is an it that stinks Excuse" "a politician is an arse upon" • more religious later in life "le bon Dieu" "i thank You God for this most amazing" * Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement in the 1800s that protested the state of culture and society overall, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church at Harvard Divinity School. Transcendentalists believed that people are essentially good and that society and its institutions (organized religion and political parties) corrupt people. They valued self-reliance and individualism.
WWI • enlisted in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, along with his college friend John Dos Passos (1917) • administrative problem, Cummings stayed in Paris for 5 weeks while sorting things out - loved Paris • anti-war: letters caught attention of censors, spent time with French soldiers instead of other ambulance drivers, spoke about lack of hate for Germans >he and a friend arrested by French military because suspected as spies • drafted into army after being released and returning to the US
Death • war • father in car accident (1926) - began to focus more on different aspects of life in his poetry "my father moved through dooms of love" "what freedom’s not some under’s mere above" "kumrads die because they’re told)" "this mind made war" "Paris;this April sunset completely utters"
Love • first marriage to Elaine Orr began as an affair while she was married to one of his classmates at Harvard • Divorced after being married for less than 3 years, didn't get to see daughter Nancy for more than 25 years • second marriage to Anne Minnerly Barton only lasted about 3 years too • third marriage to Marion Morehouse happy, stayed together for the rest of their lives
Nature & Happiness • summer home - Joy Farm in Silver Lake, NH • found peace and contentment in nature • very happy with Marion • renewed relationship with Nancy "joyful your complete fearless and pure love" "stand with your lover on the ending earth—"
Reception Dial Award (1925) Guggenheim Fellowship (1933) Shelley Memorial Award for Poetry (1944) Harriet Monroe Prize from Poetry magazine (1950) Fellowship of American Academy of Poets (1950) Guggenheim Fellowship (1951) Charles Eliot Norton Professorship at Harvard (1952–1953) Special citation from the National Book Award Committee for his Poems, 1923–1954 (1957) Bollingen Prize in Poetry (1958) Boston Arts Festival Award (1957) Two-year Ford Foundation grant of $15,000 (1959)
Works Cited Cummings, E. E. Complete Poems,1913-1962.Fi First American ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972. Print. Cummings, E. E. The Enormous Room. New York: Penguin Books, 1999. Print. Sawyer-Lauçanno, Christopher. E.E. Cummings : A Biography. Naperville, Ill: Source, 2004. Print. Pictures from: http://armedwithvisions.com/2011/06/18/e-e-cummings-deepest-secret-nobody-knows/ http://blog.syracuse.com/shelflife/2008/10/cummings.jpg http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2011/06/10/gertrudestein1_lg_custom-0ce2032442cfaac4f487660db9cfff62f2a04872-s6-c10.jpg http://thingsthatmadeanimpression.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/chax-pound_ezra.jpg http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/images/decorations/Norton-Harjes_Ambulance_Picture.jpg http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3ekw1jgAw1qbwvhpo1_1280.jpg http://www.keschneider.com/Elaine_Orr.jpg http://www.gvsu.edu/english/cummings/silverlake1.jpg http://www.gvsu.edu/english/cummings/viewofjoyfm.jpg
By Hana Phelan April 2, 2013 AP English Period 5 Ms Baynes