Edward Estlin Cummings, 1894 - 1962

portrait of E. E. Cummings
New York World-Telegram photo by Walter Albertin (13 November 1953)
E. E. Cummings signature
1749

Born: 14 October 1894, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Died: 3 September 1962, North Conway, New Hampshire

Growing up in a literate and liberal home, Cummings was writing poetry by age ten. He attended Cambridge Latin High School and received both BA (1915) and MA (1916) from Harvard -his poetry appeared in publications of both schools. He volunteered as an ambulance driver in World War I, but orders were misplaced and he spent several weeks enjoying Paris before being put to work. His pacifist convictions led to his arrest on charges of espionage, and he spent the rest of his tour in a detention camp. On his return to the US he was drafted, although he did not see combat. He is mostly known for his poetry, specifically that he took an unusual approach to capitalization, punctuation, and spacing of the text on the page, although he rarely took the capital letters out of his name and certainly never legally changed his name to the all-lower-case form. He was also a novelist, essayist, playwright, and painter.

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