E.E. Cummings: The Birth of Modern Poetry Essay

E.E. Cummings: The Birth of Modern Poetry Essay

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“The greatest poets are those with memories so great that they extend beyond their strongest experiences to their minutest observations of people and things far outside their own self-centeredness.” This quote said by Stephen Spender depicts a great poet as someone who utilizes their past observations to increase their knowledge about people, nature, love, and life. Like a great poet, E.E. Cummings employed his past experiences in his poetry and life. Known as one of the preeminent poets of the 20th century, E.E. Cummings poetry has received an array of both positive and negative criticism. Nonetheless, Cummings’s poetry has inspired many poets and authors with his liberal views on love, nature, and religion along with his modern writing style. Although many criticized his contemporary style, E.E. Cummings modernized the traditional views of love, nature, and religion in poetry by emphasizing his contemporary beliefs, while incorporating a uniquely modern writing style.
As a strong advocate of individualism, E.E. Cummings ignored biased critics throughout his career and developed a contemporary writing style. From the beginning of his career, Cummings emphasized imagination and individuality in his poetry. He believed that humans had the ability to think for themselves and imagine beyond what was rational (Kidder 7). In believing so, E.E. Cummings refused to take advice or criticism on his lifestyle and poetry. Cummings also disliked organization, but rather believed in allowing the mind to imagine (Thompson 4). He saw imagination as the greatest tool for writing and rarely threw out bad poems because he did not see the waste basket as his ally (Webster 4). He firmly believed that with imagination anything was possible....


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...ury Poetry. New York: Wiley-Blackwel, 2003.

Thompson, William E. "Intensity: An Essential Element in e. e. cummings' Aesthetic Theory and Practice." University of Windsor Review. 16.2 (Spring-Summer 1982): 18-33.

Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 137. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 18-33. Literature Resource Center. Gale. OLD TAPPAN HIGH SCHOOL. 16 Mar. 2015.
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Webster, Michael. "E. E. Cummings: Romantic Ideology and Technique." Reading Visual Poetry After Futurism: Marinetti, Apollinaire, Schwitters, Cummings. New York: Peter Lang, 1995. 111-140. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 137. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 111-140. Literature Resource Center. Gale. OLD TAPPAN HIGH SCHOOL. 16 Mar. 2015.
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