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Poet Portrait: E.E. Cummings Essay

1210 words - 5 pages

Poet Portrait:
e.e. cummings
Introduction:
One might not think a renowned poet would speak of making a mark in a toilet in his attempt to make his mark on the world, but e.e. cummings was no ordinary poet. e.e. cummings was a famous poet of the 20th century; is unique style in his poems helped him become the second most commonly known and read poet in the United States during his lifetime (“E.E. Cummings”). Being raised in a well-educated, literary family; Cummings had a strong background to develop in his chosen career. He wrote, on average, a poem everyday from the time he was 8 years old until he was through college at age 22 (“E(dward) […]”). What is even more extraordinary is he said his first rhyme at age three (Goodman). e.e. attended Harvard and studied etymology (“the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words”) (Dictionary.com) as well as syntax (“the study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language”) (Dictionary.com). His childhood and studies at Harvard apparently influenced his success because he went on to win many awards including: Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, Charles Eliot Norton Professorship, Bollinger Prize in Poetry, and the Ford Foundation grant (“E.E. Cummings”). These accomplishments were due to his incredible knack for writing poetry in a unique style that was unprecedented. His first published book of poetry was Tulips and Chimneys (Costello).

Biographical Information:
e.e.’s full name was Edward Estlin Cummings (Costello), however, he preferred to go by his writer’s moniker, e.e. cummings; which may help explain his seemingly odd use of capitalization, or lack of, in his poetry. He grew up with a wholesome family; his dad was very educated, being both a professor and a minister (“E(dward) […]”). Apparently even some of his sermons contained puns and metaphors (Goodman), this may have influenced Cummings to try the use of those literary devices in his own poems. His mother, one of his biggest supporters, had a huge role in his literary upbringing, she sang and read to him as a child and encouraged him to keep a diary throughout his childhood (Goodman). Not only was his immediate family full of writers, many of his extended family members were interested in literature, as well. In fact, his aunt, Susana Rowson, was the author of the first American novel, Charlotte Temple, published in 1791 (Goodman). Cummings was a smart child, and at age 9 he was already taking 7th grade classes at Agassiz Public School (Goodman). There he remembers memorizing many poems (Goodman). He went on to study both Latin and Greek at Cambridge Latin High School (“E. E. Cummings”). Eventually he went to Harvard to receive both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (“E. E. Cummings”). Perhaps some of the most inspiring poets to Cummings, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pounds, were authors he met at Harvard. As far as family life goes, in...

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