Readers of all ages were drawn to his poems, as they presented a challenge both visually and psychologically. Cummings’ poems revolved around the topics of war, sex, and love, which further catapulted his popularity. (Kennedy) The idiosyncratic state of e. E. Cummings’ poems destined him to become one of the 20th century’s most eminent literary’ voices. E. E. Cummings was born Edward Setlines Cummings on October 14th 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was the son of Edward Cummings, a Harvard alumni and professor, who later served as a minister in the South Congregational Church in Boston. The Poetry Foundation) His mother, Rebecca Haskell Clarke, was “one of the more socially adept women of her time and came from a distinguished family line of religious, political and even literary importance. ” (Thurman) His father’s status played an important and idyllic role in Cummings’ development, as the young boy constantly found himself surrounded by Boson’s most influential. Cummings’ also had a sister, named Elizabeth Cummings. (Kirsch) Devotion to the literary arts was implemented from an early age in the Cummings household; his mother encouraged the future poet to write verse and keep a journal.
Beginning from the age of 10, Cummings wrote a poem a ay, exploring poetry many traditional forms. (Poetry Foundation) Also blessed with the gift of drawing, he often merged his “literary and visual creative abilities,” by sketching and painting scenes from the stories he had read and written. (Thurman) Both assiduous with their children’s literary development, the boys mother and father mandated the learning of both Greek and Latin in addition to English. He was educated at Cambridge Latin School, where he was involved with the Cambridge Review.
This was where his earliest publications were to be found, and despite their averseness, “the early exposure to the world of public praise and publishing undoubtedly shaped Cummings’ attitude on everything from typesetting to experimentation with form. ” (Thurman. ) After graduating, the young writer followed in his fathers footsteps, heading off to Harvard University in 191 1 for his undergraduate degree. There, he received his B. A. , and also graduated magna UCM lauded in both English and Greek. He later returned to receive his A. M. N 1 916, a year after graduating. (Poets. Org) During his attendance at the prestigious university, Cummings branched out in other literary forms, including essays and prose pieces, which e published in the Harvard Advocate and Harvard Monthly. (Kennedy) However, this was not the end of his poetry-writing career. In addition to a few others, Cummings published an anthology of poems, named the The Eight Harvard Poets. (Thurman) The same year, during his stay in Harvard for his post-graduate degree, Cummings adopted a serious interest in the modernist movement.
It was during this time that the future poet discovered his own distinctive style. (Kirsch) Studying Cubism and Impressionist artists, he was influenced mostly by the poets he admired, which included Ezra Pound and Walt Whitman. Cummings followed particularly in Pounds footsteps, incorporating the Imaging principles for poetry, or ‘to use the rhythms of common speech rather than metrical regularity, to strive for compression and precision in language, to avoid worn-out poetic diction, and to make poetic statement by means of images. (Kennedy) However, as time passed, the poet found himself creating a fission of what he had learned; a style that would characterize Cummings for the years to come. Because of his abilities as both a poet and a painter, Cummings “developed a new form of literary cubism: he rook up his material on the page to present it in a new, visually directed way. ” (Kennedy) The poetic forms featured in Cummings’ work included the “radical” experimentation of punctuation, capitalization, conjunction of words, and spelling. (Poets. Rig) Other linguistic creations unique to this poet are his employment of verbs as nouns, visible in the following excerpt from the poem ‘”Hirelings, Winnings:” “hirelings, winnings / (daughters of butt offspring of hoper / sons of unless and children of almost / never shall guess). ” (Cummings) In The Dangers of Security: E. E. Cummings’ Revolt Against the Future, author Barbara Watson writes: “Growth and risk emerge as the cardinal principles of Cummings’ anarchistic freedom. The safety of perfection, of absolutes, of scientific precision, may be necessary, but can never be loved….
Cummings’ own poetry is true to this theory. It sets an example Of risk-taking under ideal conditions. He has the strength to take his chances, takes them willingly and joyfully, takes them for himself and not for others, does not always win, but when he wins makes something that is worth all the failures, even worth looking a bit ridiculous at times ” (Watson, p. 43) S. Hacksaw gives another representation on Cummings that states: “No modern poet to my knowledge, [to the exception of Cummings]… As a way of coming smack against things with unaffected delight and wonder. This candor… Results in breath-taxingly clean vision. ” (Poetry Foundation) It is clear that the poet received much positive acknowledgement for his work, taking home awards such as an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Bollixing Prize (in poetry), a professorship at Harvard, and the Ford Foundation grant. (Poets. Org) In 191 8, after serving in the war, the poet relocated to New York, where the dervish over his poems steadily increased.
Adam Kirsch, of Harvard Magazine, notes: “His [Cummings] rejection of sexual Puritanism, his insistence on the freedom of the individual to think and explore and create, resonated perfectly with the increasing permissiveness of American culture. ” Not only did Cummings branch out in poetic form, but poetic topics as well. It was his approach on the subjects of war, sex, and the bourgeoisie that garnered attention from people of all ages. Cummings once declared: ‘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…
Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else. ” (Kirsch) It was his insistence on “the freedom of the individual to think and explore and create,” Kirsch states, that “resonated perfectly with the increasing permissiveness of American culture. ” And it is so. During the sass’s, American society ideals changed rapidly, allowing for modernist poets such as Cummings to earn their title. Earning his place among the likes of other great American poets, including Ezra Pound, Cummings help shaped literary expression during the 20th century.
Richard Kennedy, Of the Modern American Poetry Foundation, notes: “he [Cummings] continued to produce poems of with and ingenuity, of vigorous satire, and of beauty and delicacy well into his seventh decade. ” It is because of these characteristics that e. E. Cummings, by the time of his death in 1962, had become one of America’s most beloved modernist poets, and the most widely read as well. (Kirsch) Works Cited Cummings, Edward E. “Hirelings Winnings. ” (n. D. ): n. Page- RPR. In E Cummings: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide. By Harold Bloom. N. P. Chelsea House, 2003. Google Books. Web. <http:// books. Google. Com. CE/ Cal -?FAA Sis>. Kennedy, Richard S. “E. E. Cummings’ Life. ” E. E. Cummings’ Life. Modern American Poetry, n. D. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www. English. Illinois. Du/ maps/poets/a_f/Cummings/Cummings_life. HTML>. Kirsch, Adam. “The Rebellion of E. E. Cummings. ” Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine Inc. , n. D. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http:// hairdressing. Com/2005/03/the-rebellion-of-e-scum. HTML>. The Poetry Foundation. “E. E. Cummings. ” The Poetry Foundation. N. P. N. D. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://vow. Beautification. Org/bio/e-E- Cummings>. Poets. Org. “E. E. Cummings. ” poets. Rig. N. P. , n. D. Web. ID Mar. 2013. < http://www. Poets. Org/poet. PH p/prompt/1 56>. Thurman, Carry. “E. E. Cummings. ” Literary Kicks. N. P. , n. D. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. &It;http://WV. Ticks. Com/Cummings>. Watson, Barbara. “The Dangers of Security: E. E. Cummings’ Revolt against the Future. ” E. E. Cummings: A Collection of Critical Essays. By Norman Friedman. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972. N. Page. Print. Mom “[I carry your heart with me(I carry it in]” I carry your heart with me(I carry it in my heart)I am never without it(anywhere I go you go,my dear;and whatever is done y only me is your donning darling) I fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)I want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart I carry your heart(I carry it in my heart) [l carry your heart with me(I carry it in] may be one of Cummings’ most famous poems. It combines the key characteristics that defined this author; unique punctuation, tone of voice, and topic (love). It is also one of my favorite poems, and it is what inspired me to further investigate more on this authors life, due to its uniqueness. Poem #2: [anyone lived in a pretty how town] anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) spring summer autumn winter he sang his didn’t he danced his did.
Women and men(both little and small) cared for anyone not at all they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same sun moon stars rain children guessed(but only a few and down they forgot as up they grew autumn winter spring summer) that none loved him more by more when by now and tree by leaf she laughed his joy she cried his grief bird by snow and stir by still anyone’s any was all to her someone married their everyone laughed their crying and did their dance (sleep wake hope and then)they said their never they slept their dream stars rain sun moon (and only the snow can begin to explain how children are apt to forget to remember with up so floating many bells down) one day anyone died guess (and none stooped to kiss his face) busy folk buried them side by side little by little and was by was al by all and deep by deep and more by more they dream their sleep none and anyone earth by April wish by spirit and if by yes. Women and men(both dong and ding) summer autumn winter spring reaped their sowing and went their came Another of Cummings’ highly acclaimed poems, [anyone lived in a pretty how town] is clear example of his errant use of poetic form and grammar, as well as verb-noun switches. Filled with denotations, it is a story of two lovers; yet also includes Cummings’ ideas on human nature. Cummings presents a challenge onto his readers; for me, it took several reads to understand the Mom, and it is because of this that his work is increasingly fascinating. Poem “somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond”. Morpheme I have never traveled, gladly beyond any experience, your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which I cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will enclose me though I have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose or if your wish be to close me, and my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly, s when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility: whose texture compels me with the color of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (l do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands chose this poem because of it’s richness in imagery; Cummings effectively transfers his feelings and of being in love in phrases such as “your slightest kook easily will enclose me/though I have closed myself as fingers,/ you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens/… Her first rose. ” Although visual on paper as well, his work was meant to be read out loud. “In spite of everything’ in spite of everything which breathes and moves,since Doom (with white longest hands neatening each crease) will smooth entirely our minds -before leaving my room I turn,and(stooping through the morning)kiss this pillow,dear where our heads lived and were. “in spite of everything’ is not one of Cummings’ known poems.