The Legacy of E.E. Cummings Essay

The Legacy of E.E. Cummings Essay

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Edward Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894. His father was a professor at Harvard, leading Cummings to attend Harvard from 1911-1915 (Poetry for Students vol.3). At a young age Cummings showed a strong interest in poetry and art. His first published poems appeared in the anthology “Eight Harvard poets” in 1917. During WW1 Cummings volunteered for the French-based ambulance service and he spent four years in an internment camp in Normandy on suspicion of treason (Poetry for Students vol.3). When Cummings returned to New York, he pursued painting but was drafted in 1918. During the 1920's and the 1930's Cummings traveled throughout Europe, developing careers in painting and poetry. He published his first poetry collection, “Tulips and Chimneys”, in 1923(Poetry for Students vol.3). He continued to write steadily throughout the 1940's and 1950's, receiving many awards, and he continued to write poetry till his death. Cummings exemplified many unique styles in his poems, including the poems “Old Age Sticks”, “l(a”, and “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May”, and how each poem impacted the art of literature.
Time stands still and there is no way to rewind, “Old Age Sticks” is a poem that was published in a time of significant political, social, and cultural change (Poetry for Students vol.3). In the common view of the 1950's, the period is characterized by the tension and suspicion of the cold war. The misreading of his poetry would hint at a disdain for old age. The broken lines leave the reader wondering what "old age" sticks with, whom, or what? The individual words/letters give the reader a chance to make assumptions. The reader learns that "old age sticks up 'keep off' signs"(Poetry for Students vol.3). He capitali...


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...This poem represents one of e.e Cummings experiments with rhymed couplets. The names Maggie, Milly, Molly, and May could very well be representing four girls. Also, Cummings work has always encountered divergent criticisms.
"Old Age Sticks." Poetry for Students. Ed. Marie R. Napierkowski and Mary Ruby. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998. 245-59. Print.
This source is reliable because it provides all the information needed to write a biography on E.E. Cummings. It has an author’s biography, poem text, poem summary, themes, style, historical content, and a critical overview. It gives a brief summary of each line of the poem, so I have a clear understanding of what the poem means. This poem displays Edwards’s poetic innovations that distinguish his verses. Two of Cummings most significant contributions to modern poetry were word play and unusual spatial arrangement.


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