BORN: October 14, 1894, Cambridge, Massachusetts
DIED: September 3, 1962, North Conway, New Hampshire
IDENTIFICATION: Innovative mid-twentieth-century poet whose poems and paintings contributed to, and drew upon, developing styles of modernism.
E. E. Cummings's poetry combines a child's enthusiasm for the wonders of the natural world with a sophisticated adult's wariness of official positions and conventional thinking. His exuberant experiments with poetic shapes and forms and his delight in the possibilities of language were significant elements in his revision and expansion of poetic possibility. Building upon the solid foundation of traditional literature, he created a distinctly personal kind of poetry that has frequently been imitated but which, in his best work, remains fresh and exciting in the twenty-first century.