National Poetry Month: e.e. cummings

By Marcia Lee
Serials Specialist

“if you like my poems let them
walk in the evening, a little behind you…”

In honor of National Poetry month, I wanted to share a bit about my favorite poet, e.e. cummings. GRCC Library has several resources to help you take a closer look at e.e. cummings and his work.

Biography
e.e. cummings( Edward Estlin Cummings)
1894-1962

e.e. cummings’ life story is one of love, loss & words to describe the previous two. His life was perhaps no more tragic than any other and he suffered no more loss than anyone else, however he allowed his emotions, love, and observations to pour out in the written forms of poems and plays.

From the beginning, Cummings’ family – particularly his father – played a huge role in forming him as a man & as a writer. His father, Edward Cummings, was a man that e.e. looked up to, deeply loved and respected throughout his entire lifetime. His father was tragically taken from him in 1926 as a result of a horrific car accident. His mother survived the crash with significant head injuries & passed away in 1947 after suffering a stroke.

During his 68 years on earth, he had 2 brief marriages and 1 daughter whom he went without seeing for 22 years. His daughter Nancy was conceived with first wife, Elaine Orr. After Elaine left him for another man just 2 months after they wed, she took their 5 year old daughter with her to Ireland. Although allocated 3 months custody each year, Cummings did not see his daughter again until she was 27 years old.

After his first marriage to Orr ended, Cummings went on to marry once more for a mere 3 year stint and after the second marriage ended in 1932, he met the woman he would spend the remainder of his life with, Marion Morehouse. Although the two never legally married, they fulfilled the role of husband and wife for one another from 1932 until his death in 1962. Needless to say, Morehouse was the love of his life and stayed by his side during times of heartache.

His poems were influenced by what was going on at the time in his own personal life – as art often is. Events and people such as the women he loved, his father’s death, and his world travels were all translated into his writings. His unique writing style, which started at a young age, was and is, at least in my opinion, full of beauty and truth. 🙂

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