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The great works of E.E. Cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings is one of the most prolific American writers. He was born in 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and died in 1962 in Madison, New Hampshire.  He was a renowned poet, essayist, playwright, painter and author. He wrote more than 2900 poems, two autobiographic books, four plays and many essays. He was a very complex writer that liked to combine avant-garde techniques with the traditional tone of sonnets. He liked to create his own language in his work and to reconsider any grammar rule and restriction. He even started using words like “because” and “if” as independent pronouns in his works.

He decided to become a writer around the age of eight. From that time until his early 20s he would write a poem a day in order to explore all the possible styles and subjects. He also liked to experiment with his poems in creating visual object on the page. His first masterpieces can be read in Eight Harvard Poets, a book that compiles the great works of American writers. At the beginning of WWI he volunteered for an ambulance position on the front. Because of a miss-match he was left to wait for several weeks in Paris. This period later became a source of inspiration for him. After the war he released several masterpieces that depict the life on the frontline. His book The Enormous Room is considered a masterpiece of the war literature and depicts his time as a prisoner. The book has a rather joyful pace that describes the path of learning an understanding and presents this time in his life as a time of self-reflection and learning.

His first poems collection appeared in 1923 and it was called Tulips and Chimneys. It is considered a masterpiece that best presents the own language of this author and his unique avant-garde style. He then released XLI Poems in 1925. He received numerous awards for these books and many cash prizes from newspapers. In 1926 he released the notorious Is 5. This book is considered by many a manifesto of this writer. He presents the act of creating poetry and he states that the purpose of literature is the process itself, not the product. This work is considered by many the inspiration source for many other modern writers. His courage and boldness attracted a lot of respect and criticism. In many of his works he attacked the cliché of modern art and criticized the artists that work for the masses. He wrote in his famous Harvard “non lectures” that art will always be a matter of individuality and that no author or artist will ever be able to satisfy everybody.

Some of his most notorious works are “i carry your heart with me”, “Santa Claus: A Morality”, “I Will Wade Out” and many others. Some of his most notorious poems were published in compilations that are widely found. His essays present his view on the literary world and how he perceives art. He is considered one of the first true modernists.