E.E. Cummings


Born: 14 October 1894
Died: 3 September 1962 (stroke)
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Best known as: The experimental poet who spelled his name without capitals

Name at birth: Edward Estlin Cummings

Whimsical and experimental, E.E. Cummings was a popular American poet of the early 20th century. Cummings' first published work was his 1922 novel The Enormous Room, based on his time in a French prison camp during World War I. He became more widely known as an avant garde poet, thanks to his unconventional use of typography, syntax and sometimes scandalous (at the time) choices of words and topics. He had a fondness for scattering words unevenly across a page, and liked to spell his own name as e.e. cummings, leading generations of college students to remember him as the guy who didn't capitalize his own name. He is often mentioned in the same breath with Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot and other groundbreaking literary figures of the era between the world wars. His collections of poetry include Tulips and Chimneys (1923), No Thanks (1935) and Ninety-Five Poems (1958).

Extra credit:

Cummings attended Harvard, receiving a B.A. in 1915 and a M.A. in 1916 before his World War I service… His 1925 poem i like my body when it is with your includes the famous opening lines:

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.

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