October 14th marks the birthday of unconventional American poet Edward Estlin Cummings, popularly known as e.e. cummings, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894.His father, Edward, was a professor at Harvard University and later the nationally known minister of Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother, Rebecca, who loved to spend time with her children, played games with Cummings and his sister, Elizabeth. It was Cummings's mother who introduced him to the joys of writing.
Cummings began writing poetry at the age of 8, developing a signature style of using grammar and syntax to give his work a distinct physical and oral shape which broke with poetic conventions of the time. Cummings was educated at Cambridge High and Latin School, and from 1911 to 1916 he attended Harvard. Cummings became an aesthete, he began dress unconventionally, and dedicated himself to painting and literature. He graduated in 1915 with a major in classics.
When the United States entered the war in 1917, Cummings made the decision to avoid the draft and volunteered to serve with the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Service in France. He was excited by the prospect of adventure and felt this service would best match his pacifist nature and intellectual upbringing. Perhaps because of his experimental artistic personality or his political beliefs, Cummings did not seem to fit in well with his unit and tension began to develop. Cummings freely spoke of his distaste for the other men in the unit, and wrote numerous letters of complaint to his family back in the US. French authorities censored the letters of both Brown and Cummings and they soon found themselves under the heavy scrutiny of authorities. After being interrogated and refusing to turn his back on Brown, Cummings was detained and eventually interred in a French Prison Camp at La Ferté-Macéfor three months.Later, he found out he had been accused of treason, but the charges were never proven.
He was glad to escape the regimentation of army life for the artists' playground of Greenwich Village, which he would call his home for the rest of his life, Never enamored of the moneyed class or celebrity or authority, here he threw himself into writing, painting, and sexual adventure. (Cummings would run through two marriages and many love affairs before settling down with the former model Marion Morehouse, his companion for the last 30 years of his life.)
His first major literary success came with the publication of his prose memoir, The Enormous Room (1922), an account of his imprisonment in France. This was followed by collections of verse, Tulips and Chimneys (1923), which contrasted the evils of war to the 'sweet spontaneous earth', and XLI Poems (1925).
In his poems Cummings often expressed his rebellious attitude towards politics, and conformity,He was sardonic about organized religion, but maintained an almost transcendentalizing faith in human beings. He championed individuals against the power of the state, as with "i sing of Olaf glad and big," and as a result was drawn to the radical Left early on, even translating Louis Aragon's poem "Red Front" from the French, but a visit to the Soviet Union turned him against communism, Eimi (1933), his experimental diary recounting his Soviet experience. By temperament, he was in some ways more an anarchist ( ironically with somewhat politically conservative leanings) but acertain irreverance remained fundamentally central to his character.
He had a somber side that craved privacy and what he called an "after breakfast" side that enjoyed running with the crowd. He never ran after the crowd. He could spend days isolated with his work, yet he loved travel. In the twenties Cummings made several trips to Europe and there met with Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, Ford Maddox Ford, Archibald MacLeish, and others. During visits to France, Spain, Tunisia, Mexico, Russia and Italy he enjoyed visiting the museums, attending concerts, viewing stage shows, or just watching the passing parade. his body of work includes almost 3,000 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings, and was the recipient of many literary awards, Cummings was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship, 1950; he received a Guggenheim fellowship, 1951-52; and he was the Charles Eliot Norton Lecturer at Harvard, 1953. as well as earning an honorary professorial seat at Harvard.
Throughout his career he paid a great deal of attention to the visual appearance of the poem on the page, probably due to his painters eye. But Cummings is perhaps best known for his unorthodox usage of both capitalisation, punctuation and typography. “Grammatical anarchism” was his way of protesting the conformity of mass society. 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 also revised grammatical and linguistic rules to suit his own purposes and experimented with poetic form and language to create a distinct personal style.He frequently used colloquial language and material from burlesque and the circus and ignored conventional punctuation and syntax in favor of a dynamic use of language, even inventing his own words by combining common words to create new meanings.
Yet despite the nontraditional form of his poems, Cummings gained widespread popularity. His style may have been avant-garde, but his themes were more traditional: love, childhood, nature, his moods were alternately satirical and tough or tender and whimsical, combining powerful appreciations of the individual soul.
Edward Estlin Cummings died Sep. 3, 1962 of a brain hemorrhage His literary style marked him as one of the most revolutionary and innovative poets of the twentieth century.Cummings will be remembered as one of the more lasting poets America has produced.An extraordinary poet who simply rebelled in the act of noticing.The following is a selection of some of my favourite poems by him.
i sing of Olaf glad and big - e.e.cummings
i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or
his wellbelovéd colonel (trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but-though an host of overjoyed
noncoms (first knocking on the head
him) do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments-
Olaf (being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds, without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your **** flag"
straightaway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)
but-though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skillfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat-
Olaf (upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some **** I will not eat"
our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofa****
into a dungeon,where he died
Christ (of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in) - e.e cummings
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
by only me is your doing,my darling)
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
Humanity I Love you - e. e cummings
Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both
parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard
Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity
i hate you
Seeker of Truth - e.e. cummings
seeker of truth
follow no path
all paths lead where
truth is here
you said is -e.e.cummings
you said Is
there anything which
is dead or alive more beautiful
than my body,to have in your fingers
(trembling ever so little)?
your eyes Nothing,i said,except the
air of spring smelling of never and forever.
....and through the lattice which moved as
if a hand is touched by a
moved as though
fingers touch a girl's
Do you believe in always,the wind
said to the rain
I am too busy with
my flowers to believe,the rain answered
the mind is its own beautiful prisoner - e.e.cummings
the mind is its own beautiful prisoner.
Mine looked long at the sticky moon
opening in dusk her new wings
then decently hanged himself, one afternoon.
The last thing he saw was you
naked amid unnaked things,
your flesh, a succinct wandlike animal,
a little strolling with the futile purr
of blood;your sex squeaked like a billiard-cue
chalking itself, as not to make an error,
with twists spontaneously methodical.
He suddenly tasted worms windows and roses
he laughed, and closed his eyes as a girl closes
her left hand upon a mirror.
i have loved let us see if that is all - e.e cummings
i have loved, let us see if that’s all.
Bit into you as teeth, in the stone
of a musical fruit. My lips pleasantly groan
on your taste. Jumped the quick wall
of your smile into stupid gardens
if this were not enough (not really enough
pulled one before one the vague tough
exquisite flowers, whom hardens
richly, darkness. On the whole
possibly have i loved….you)
sheath before sheath
stripped to the Odour. (and here’s what WhoEver will know
Had you as bite teeth;
i stood with you as a foal
stands but as the trees, lay, which grow
o sweet sponaneous - e.e.cummings
o sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
beauty . how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
them only with