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Grant Bergeron

Mrs. Kirschner
English II
April 4, 2016
E.E Cummings: More Than a Poet
An accomplished artist, writer, poet and playwright E.E Cummings is popular for his
most famous writings that were composed in the 20th century. Most of these wonderful pieces of
art and writing are comprised of his early life from the hallways of Harvard to the trenches of
war in Germany.
E.E Cummings was born on October 14, 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts near Harvard
University. His father, Edward Cummings, was a teacher at Harvard University. He taught
sociology at the university before becoming a Unitarian minister. (Goldfarb) Cummings grew up
playing with kids whose parents were also professors at the University. Later on while growing
up at the University Cummings would obtain both Bachelors and Masters degree from Harvard.
He gained a solid grasp on English and classical literature. His outstanding understanding of
literature and language prove to be invaluable to him as a poet. Cummings took his first job for a
Publishing company. The company was called Collier Publish Company. The company was
founded in 1888 and focused on magazine and papers publishing. Cummings got tired of this
extraordinarily quick. He quick his job at Collier Publishing Company in 2 months. After this
Cummings never had a regular job again. After giving up his job at the publishing company,
Cummings went out on his own to pursue writing. With financial help from his family and
friends he devoted his life to writing as well as painting. After moving on to this part in his life

where he was painting and writing poetry everyday he became a devout believer in God. He
prayed for strength and his essential self in times of depression throughout his life. In 1917
Cummings and his college friend enlisted for the First World War in Europe.
Cummings was enlisted into the Norton Harjes Ambulance Corps along with his college
friend John Dos Passos. (Goldfarb) At this time, he lived in Paris. Cummings loved the city of
Paris and he loved the culture but war would end up yielding him one of his greatest creations.
During this time neither Cummings nor John hated the Germans. They expressed this in the
letters they sent home. This led to military to sustain a suspicion of the two. Just five months
later the French military arrested both of them for suspicion of espionage and undesirable
activities. After their arrest they were sent to military camp names Depot de Triage in the center
of Normandy. This was not the best place to be during the middle of war. Cummings family
attempted to get his release but failed. Cummings was in the prison for a prolonged time and
finally got his release in December of 1917. This time inspired him to write a novel. This was
one of his first published works called the Enormous Room. (Gomez) The novel was based on
the large room that Cummings slept in at the camp next to thirty or so prisoners. The book is a
compilation of all his memories and thoughts from 4 months he was in the prison from the day
he got in to the day he was released. After the publication of The Enormous Room Cummings
stuck with his plan and moved to Paris to study art. He stayed there for a number of years then
returned to New York in 1924. Little did he know that his novels and works of writing had made
him a celebrity.

This war experience that drove in on Cummings life style and writing style. The
experiences in war gave him a new perspective on writing and the life he was going to live post

war. In this life he accepted after the war he began experimenting. He used many different types
of poetry styles but the one that stands out to most everyone. Among one of the innovative of
twentieth-century poets, (Penberthy) He was one of the first to use a type writer to his
advantage. With all of this extra time Cummings used a type writer in ways that it would never
be thought to be used. For instance, Cummings were make his poems come alive through many
one letter lines and spaces with the type writer. He would basically draw a picture with letters
across the page. Cummings does this in several poems. In one of his poems, snowflake, he
makes it seem as a snowflake is softly gliding down the page towards the ground. (York) It gives
you this visual effect and feeling of an actual snowflake. Another key in writing that Cummings
uses is in the last line where he states, falling alighting on a gravest one. (York) Now as you
can see he uses gravest one but it can also be read as gravestone. E.E Cummings by doing this
leaves the door open for his poems to be interpreted in so many different ways. Another poem
where he uses the same idea of the type writer to create this image is in his poem Grasshopper.
This poem is one of the most interesting pieces he has ever written. Fine line with crazy and or
pure genius. The poem itself can be considered barely possible to read but as you do try to
comprehend the work you see how Cummings was working. He uses spelling and punctuation to
express this insect of a grasshopper to be flying and jumping on the page. It starts in the top
corner and hops and walks all the way down spelling grasshopper backwards and sideways.
Truly a new style of writing by Cummings.
In conclusion E.E Cummings brought new styles and new meaning in almost all of his
works. From love and romance to non seneschal imagery about insects and snowflakes with
hidden twist if you read it a different way. Cummings always brought something new with his

vast understanding of writing. E.E Cummings would pass away in his 50s from a brain
jade do jiff made it a little linger maybe you would hey what grant by the the tether S ads

Works Cited

"E.E Cumming's Life." Modern American Poetry. N.p., 18 Mar. 2001. Web. 7 Mar.
2016. <http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/cummings/
Goldfarb, Sheldon. "E. E. Cummings." Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia
(2016): Research Starters. Web. 2 Mar. 2016.
Mara Gmez-Jimnez, Eva. "Oride Lesgo Eckshun:1 Spelling Foregrounding
In The Experimental Poetry Of E. E. Cummings2." Language & Literature
24.4 (2015): 307. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 11 Apr.
Elliot York "Hello Poetry" http://hellopoetry.com. N.p., 12 July 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.