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E.E. Cummings "How have these aspects of life influenced the poet and his work?"


Jan 30, 2012   #1
PROMPT: Choose one poet, and then consider the personal lives of that poet, and the historical times and conditions in which that poet lived (context). How have these aspects of life influenced the poet and his/her work?

*All I'm really looking for is some general feedback on the subject matter and any and all grammar mistakes I may have included*:


Edward Estlin (E.E.) Cummings, born October of 1894 and died September of 1962, was a prominent American poet who is most often remembered for his unique, yet avant-garde, style of poetry. In addition to being an accomplished poet, Cummings exhibited talent in multiple facets of the arts that include being an accomplished playwright, author, essayist, and even a painter. Throughout his life, Cummings would often travel to many countries, which included France and even Soviet Russia. These travels, among other things, would have a profound influential effect on his style of writing. Juxtaposed with the obvious historical context present (i.e. World War I, the roaring twenties, etc.), excerpts of Cummings' life experience can often be found directly in the works he produced. With that said, these aspects of his life, in addition to the historical context of the time period, have influenced Cummings to a very high degree that can be seen in just about every work composed.

Cummings was born into a Christian Family that practiced a "one-person" understanding of God (Unitarian), and as a result would have transcendental leanings his entire life ("Transcendental" meaning the inherent goodness of both man and nature). Growing up, it was evident that Cummings had a special talent for writing. As an 'early bloomer', "[Cummings] wrote a poem a day, exploring many traditional poetic forms. By the time he was in Harvard in 1916, modern poetry had caught his interest." This can be said to have eventually lead to his "avant-garde" reputation with respect to his unique style of writing. However, during his early life, it is hard to determine if the historical context of the late 1800's - early 1900's had any sort of "profound" effect on Cummings, as it is not evident in his early work. However, by the time World War I broke out, the context of this historical time began showing more and more.

Cummings had stayed in Paris initially when he enlisted to serve, a decision that would ultimately have a positive effect on him for the rest of his life. His love for the city, his subsequent, and often frequent, visits to it later on, would end up becoming the main focus for many of his works in addition to his poetry. Additionally, in 1931, "Cummings traveled to the Soviet Union. Pre-disposed to enjoy the trip, Cummings found his personal sense of individualism disturbed by the lack of intellectual and artistic freedom that he found." Eventually, he would later publish his experiences from his diary titled "I am." Suffice to say, the experiences he had with traveling all across Europe during a time period which many would consider to be turbulent, the work that Cummings produced certainly showed that his many experiences had an effect on the work he produced.

During the later part of his life, Cummings would spend most of his time traveling for leisure, give lectures at his alma mater, and spend time in his summer home. With the Second World War having been over for nearly a decade, Cummings' later works were mainly satirical, often addressing pressing social issues, while simultaneously poking fun towards the subject at the same time. By this time in his life, he had already garnered a controversial reputation for being mostly unconventional with his delivery and style of writing. However, the writing he presented was often satirical, and not so much about the historical context that he was forced to endure. Because of this, the later parts of his life, aside from his satirical works and lecture obligations, were mainly uneventful. It can be said that the historical times and conditions this poet had lived through were indicative in his writing from childhood into most of his adulthood, however the same cannot be said for the later part of his life.

Furthermore, Edward Estlin (E.E.) Cummings was a prominent American poet who had multiple talents in many areas of literature. In his life, he experienced war first hand, experienced the roaring twenties, the great depression, and the lack of intellectualism in certain countries like Soviet Russia. These experiences, juxtaposed with the important historical context that were present at the time, were often always found in the works he produced, which included essays, paintings, and even novels in addition to his poetry. With his experience, came a great deal of poetry that will be cherished for years to come.

Jan 31, 2012   #2
EDIT: As I can't seem to edit my original post anymore, I just wanted to add that I took out many of the "would haves" in my paper and replaced them accordingly. Thanks!
Feb 7, 2012   #3
Throughout his life, Cummings would often travel to many countries, which included France and even Soviet Russia.

Cummings was born into a Christian f amily that practiced a "one-person" understanding of God (Unitarian), and as a result, would have transcendental leanings his entire life.

Cummings had stayed in Paris initially when he enlisted to serve,---In what capacity?- -- a decision that would ultimately have a positive effect on him for the rest of his life.

During the later part of his life, Cummings would spend most of his time traveling for leisure, giving lectures at his alma mater, and spending time in his summer home.

You did a great job on this, and made E. E. Cummings seem more interesting than what I've read of his poetry! Good luck with school!

:)


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