Certainly, E.E. Cummings was an artist with a creative vision that separated himself from traditional norms to find his place in the world of the original expression. This man found a following in his poetic descriptions of life in all its forms, yet, his imaginative examples moved beyond verse. In addition to his volumes of poetry, he also wrote books, plays, essays, and a ballet. This inventive soul also studied art in Paris and enjoyed drawing and painting.
On 14 Oct 1894, Edward Estlin Cummings was born to Edward Cummings and Rebecca Clarke. His father was a professor at Harvard, and he later became a minister. His mother enjoyed time with her children. The young boy, Estlin, credited his mother for his love of writing, and as a child, he started writing poems at the age of ten. He also loved to draw.
Following his father’s footsteps, Estlin graduated from Harvard. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1915. The young man continued his education, and in 1916, he graduated from Harvard with his Masters.
In 1917, he volunteered as an ambulance driver in France. Since a snag in the paperwork occurred, Estlin had five weeks to explore Paris before his duties began. Enthralled by the City of Lights, later in life, he would often travel to this wondrous capital.
While he was an ambulance driver in WWI, Estlin often mingled with the French soldiers, and he was outspoken about his antiwar convictions. In time, the French authorities noticed his pacifist ideas through his letters to others, and he was suspected of espionage. He and a fellow driver spent over three months at Depot de Triage in la Ferte-Mace, Orne, Normandy. His experience in prison led to his autobiographical account, The Enormous Room. In 1918, he was drafted into the army and operated with the 12th Division at Camp Devons in Massachusetts.
For a time, he spent his time between his home in Greenwich Village in New York City and Paris and continued to pursue his love art. In the 1940s and 1950s, he also showed artistic talent in several one-man art shows.
This famous poet was also known for his unique style of poetry. His poems pushed beyond the formal forms of syntax, and he settled into his signature style. Although criticized for his lack of poetic development, his flair helped him gain popularity. Some of his works were also notorious for his time, and even his friends would warn him of his controversial pennings. Often, he could not find a publisher, and he self-published many of his volumes of poetry. In turn, he financially struggled.
Still, E.E. Cummings became one of the leading poets in America. Throughout his lifetime, he received numerous fellowships and honors, and he became the second widely read poet after Robert Frost. This inventive man left a distinctive legacy through his endeavors, and his works have continued to be enjoyed by countless that have discovered his works.
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