photo: Marion Morehouse, 1960 E. E. Cummings Edward Estlin

E. E. Cummings
Edward Estlin Cummings was born at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 14,
1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the
Cambridge Latin High School. He received his B.A. in 1915 and his M.A. in 1916, both from
Harvard. His studies there introduced him to avant garde writers, such as Gertrude Stein
and Ezra Pound.
photo: Marion Morehouse,
In 1917, Cummings published an early selection of poems in the anthology Eight Harvard
Poets. The same year, Cummings left the United States for France as a volunteer
ambulance driver in World War I. Five months after his assignment, however, he and a
friend were interned in a prison camp by the French authorities on suspicion of espionage
(an experience recounted in his novel, The Enormous Room) for his outspoken anti-war
After the war, he settled into a life divided between houses in rural Connecticut and Greenwich Village, with frequent visits
to Paris. He also traveled throughout Europe, meeting poets and artists, including Pablo Picasso, whose work he
particularly admired.
In 1920, The Dial published seven poems by Cummings, including "Buffalo Bill's." Serving as Cummings' debut to a wider
American audience, these "experiments" foreshadowed the synthetic cubist strategy Cummings would explore in the next
few years.
In his work, Cummings experimented radically with form, punctuation, spelling and syntax, abandoning traditional
techniques and structures to create a new, highly idiosyncratic means of poetic expression. Later in his career, he was
often criticized for settling into his signature style and not pressing his work towards further evolution. Nevertheless, he
attained great popularity, especially among young readers, for the simplicity of his language, his playful mode and his
attention to subjects such as war.
During his lifetime, Cummings received a number of honors, including an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two
Guggenheim Fellowships, the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship at Harvard, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1958, and a
Ford Foundation grant.
At the time of his death, September 3, 1962, he was the second most widely read poet in the United States, after Robert
Frost. He is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts.
A Selected Bibliography
Tulips and Chimneys (1923)
& (1925)
XLI Poems (1925)
ViVa (1931)
No Thanks (1935)
Tom (1935)
1/20 (1936)
Fifty Poems (1941)
1 x 1 (1944)
Xaipe: Seventy-One Poems (1950)
Ninety-five Poems (1958)
73 Poems (1962)
Complete Poems (1991)
The Enormous Room (1922)
Eimi (1933)
Spring is like a perhaps
anyone lived in a pretty
how town
by E. E. Cummings
by E. E. Cummings
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her
without breaking anything
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
maggie and milly and
molly and may
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
by E. E. Cummings
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain