Edward Estlin Cummings is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. (Anne Sexton is also buried here.)

Grave of e.e.cummings

(buried next to his wife's family grave)
Photograph by Legerdemaine

During the First World War, Cummings worked as a volunteer ambulance driver in France and was interned for three months in a prison camp. His experiences were related in  his novel The Enormous Room. 

Influenced by the likes of Amy Lowell and Gertrude Stein, Cummings experimented with the visual appearance his poetry (see concrete poetry). In particular, he abandoned the use of capital letters at the start of lines and split lines in a playful, idiosyncratic manner. He also joined words together to create neologisms - see Buffalo Bill's below. 

The first of his twelve collections of poetry, Tulips and Chimneys, appeared in 1923.

Cummings' work was very popular with the general public. At the time of his death he was the second most widely read poet in the United States  - after Robert Frost. However, the left wing critics of the 1930s dismissed his work and later in his career he was criticised for concentrating on form rather than content.

Self portrait

Cummings was also an accomplished painter and famously divided his day between painting in the afternoon and writing poetry at night.

His third marriage to the photograher Marion Morehouse was a long and happy one.

Cummings' use of experimental typography and compound words opened up new possibilities for a whole generation of American poets including: Louis Zukofsky, Charles Bukowski, Robert Creeley, A. R. Ammons and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

See also 'Poets on Poetry'.

Buffalo Bill's
               who used to
                ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
                                                and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

'Buffalo Bill's'






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