2013 E.E. Cummings
20th Century American Poet
Issue Date: April 21, 2012
City: Los Angeles, CA
Printed By: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Perforations: Die cut 10 ¾ x 11
Painter, poet, novelist, and playwright, E.E. Cummings (1894-1962) experimented with typography, punctuation, grammar, and even misspelling to push the limits of traditional poetry and create a new means of expression. This established him as “a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry” and one of the most popular avant-garde poets of his time.
Cummings began writing poetry at the age of eight, and wrote a poem a day until he was 22, exploring a variety of traditional poetic forms. As a student at Harvard, he was introduced to the work of avant-garde (experimental or innovative) writers Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. This initiated his interest in modern poetry and pushing the limits of convention.
Most of Cummings’ poems center on love, nature, death, rebirth, and the relationship between the individual and the world. His frequent visits to Paris, France, familiarized Cummings with Dada and the surrealist style. This impacted both his painting and writing – in which he used typography to “paint a picture.”
Cummings also invented words, combined existing words, created his own private meanings for words, and changed grammatical rules, using words such as “if,” “am,” and “because,” as nouns. Innovations like this established Cummings as the second-most widely read poet in the U.S. at the time of his death. 20th century.