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Edward Estlin Cummings Essay

Project id 1012449
Subject area Arts Entertainment
Document type Essay
Words 3074
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Edward Estlin Cummings Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 14, 1894. He earned a BA from Harvard and volunteered to go to France during World War I with the Ambulance Corps. After the war, he remained in Paris, painting and writing, and later returned to the United States. He died in Conway, New Hampshire, in 1962. Cummings is one of the most advanced contemporary poets, he used unconventional punctuation and capitalization, and unusual line, word, and even letter placements - namely, ideograms. Cummings' most difficult kind of poetry is most likely the ideogram; it is very terse and it combines both visual and auditory elements. There may be sounds or characters on the page that cannot be verbalized or cannot convey the exact same message if pronounced rather than read. Four of Cummings' poems "la," "mortals," "! Blac," and "swi" illustrate the ideogram form quite well. Cummings utilizes unique syntax in these poems so as to convey messages visually in addition to verbally. Though one may think about 'la" as a poem of sadness and loneliness, Cummings probably did not intend that. This poem is all about identity - oneness. The theme of oneness can be derived from the several instances and forms of the number '1' through the poem. To begin with, "la" comprises both the number 1 and also the singular indefinite article, 'a'; the next line contains the French singular definite article, 'le'; will' on the fifth line represents two ones; 'one' on the 7th line charms the number out; the 8th line, 'l', isolates the number; and 'iness', the last line, can mean "the state of being I" - that is, identity - or "oneness", deriving the "one" from the lowercase roman numeral 'I'. Cummings could have simplified this poem dras...

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