E. E. Cummings

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Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 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 BA in 1915 and his MA in 1916, both from Harvard University.  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 for his outspoken anti-war convictions. After the war, he settled into a life divided between his lifetime summer home, Joy Farm in New Hampshire, 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 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. 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. Source

maggie and milly and molly and may

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 troubles,and

 

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

 

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

 

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

Published:

1956

Length:

Shorty

Literary Movements:

Modernism

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Childhood & Coming of Age

Friendship

Joy & Praise

Nature

Poems of Place

Literary Devices:

Alliteration

the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession

Couplets

two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Simile

a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”