EE Cummings

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EE Cummings 1953

Edward Estlin Cummings (born October 14, 1894 in Cambridge ; Massachusetts ; † September 3, 1962 in North Conway , New Hampshire ) was an American poet and writer.

Live and act

EE Cummings, self-portrait around 1920
EE Cummings, signature

Cummings came from a liberal family. His early interest in poetry - he is said to have written poetry as early as 1904, when he was ten - was encouraged by his parents. From 1911 to 1915 he studied literature at Harvard , where he met John Dos Passos in the editorial office of the university newspaper , with whom he became friends. In 1912, one of his texts appeared for the first time in that university newspaper. In his senior year he came into contact with modern, avant-garde texts by authors such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound , who influenced him.

In 1917, Cummings first published poems in a collection. Shortly thereafter, he volunteered as a medic and went to France, where he took part in the First World War . He was mistakenly mistaken for a traitor and interned in a camp in Normandy for four months. This experience formed the basis of his novel The Tremendous Room . After the war ended, Cummings stayed in Paris, where he met, among others, Pablo Picasso , who impressed him.

In 1923 his first volume of poetry was published with the title Tulips & Chimneys . In the 1920s and 1930s, Cummings traveled extensively, including the Soviet Union, lived alternately in the United States and France, and regularly published new volumes of poetry.

Cummings was never as intellectually radical and inaccessible as his revolutionary role models, but his simple but never simple-minded view of the world made him one of the most popular modern English-language poets.

In his artistic work he often criticized the patriotic mendacity of the American Dream and the conformism of the American way of life , but also the omnipresent madness in the cultural industry and consumer world of the affluent society , which leads to a mere accumulation of outward pseudo values, whereby that actually valuable is lost.

Cummings was a supporter of the America First Committee , an isolationist movement that sought to prevent the United States from participating in World War II in 1940/41 .

In 1949 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters .

In 1924, Cummings and Elaine Orr married, previously married to the writer Scofield Thayer. Since 1918, Cummings had an affair with her that resulted in his daughter Nancy, born in 1919. The marriage failed after less than a year. Elaine moved to Ireland; his daughter didn't see Cummings again until 1946. His second marriage to Anne Minnerly Barton lasted from 1929 to 1932. After that, Cummings lived with Marion Morehouse, the relationship lasted until his death in 1962.

Reception and adaptations

  • Leonard Bernstein set a poem by Cummings to music in his work “Songfest” (“If you can't eat you got to”)
  • Pierre Boulez composed "Cummings is the poet" based on texts by Cummings.
  • Aribert Reimann set Cummings to music in “Impressionen IV” (1961) for soprano and piano.
  • Luciano Berio set three poems by Cummings to music in his work Circles .
  • In the film The Dead Poets Club , a poem by Cummings is quoted almost entirely to emphasize the film's motto "Carpe diem".
  • In the movie In My Sister's Shoes , the poem I carry your heart appears.
  • The Icelandic singer Björk set his poem I will wade out to music in her song Sun in my mouth on the Vespertine album .
  • In the Woody Allen film Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), lines from the poem "Somewhere I have never traveled ..." are quoted.
  • Matthias Pintscher composed his songs and snow pictures (2000) based on poems by Cummings.
  • The actor David Niven chose the title of the poem " Maybe the moon is just a balloon" (OT: The Moon's a Ballon ) for his autobiography, published in 1975, and recites the poem on the first pages and at the end of the book.
  • On the album "Baptism" by the American folk singer Joan Baez , she sings the poem "All in Green Went My Love Riding" in a setting by Peter Schickele .
  • Brad Mehldau set "the boys I mean are not refine" to music in his song cycle "The Folly of Desire" (2019).

Works (selection)

Illustrated book
  • CIOPW . Covici Peace, New York 1931.
  • I. Six nonlectures . Caedmon Books, New York 1953.
    • German: I. Six nonlectures / I. six non-lectures. Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60723-3 (reprint of the Ebenhausen 2004 edition).
  • Anyone lived in a pretty how town . In: David M. Cook, Craig M. Swauger (Eds.): A small town in American literature . Dodd Mead Books, New York 1969.
  • Tulips and Chimneys . Liveright Press, New York 1996, ISBN 0-87140-165-7 (reprint of New York 1923 edition)
  • & . Self-published, New York 1925.
  • XLI poems . Dial Press, New York 1925.
  • Is 5 . Liveright Press, New York 1996, ISBN 0-87140-164-9 (reprint of the New York 1926 edition)
  • W. ViVa? Liveright Press, New York 1979, ISBN 0-87140-636-5 (reprint of the New York 1931 edition)
  • No thanks . Liveright Press, New York 1978, ISBN 0-87140-631-4 (reprint of the New York 1935 edition)
  • Collected poems . Hacourt, Brace & World, New York 1963, ISBN 0-15-118563-8 (reprint of the New York 1938 edition)
  • 50 poems . Grosset & Dunlop, New York 1971, ISBN 0-15-118563-8 (reprint of the New York 1940 edition)
  • 1 × 1 . Harcourt & Brace, New York 1944.
  • Xaipe. 71 poems . Liveright Press, New York 1979, ISBN 0-87140-633-0 (reprint of the New York 1950 edition)
  • Poems 1923-1954 . New York 1954.
  • 95 poems . Liveright Press, New York 2002, ISBN 0-87140-181-9 (reprint of New York 1958 edition)
  • 73 poems . Faber & Faber, London 1982, ISBN 0-571-10443-6 (reprint of the New York 1963 edition)
  • Complete poems. 1910-1962 . Granada Publ., London 1981 (2 vols.)
  1. ISBN 0-246-11008-2 .
  2. ISBN 0-246-11009-0 .
fairy tale
  • Fairy Tales. Beck, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-406-69670-1 (bilingual, translated by Hanne G. Reck).
  • The elephant and the butterfly .
Travel report
  • Eimi. A journey through Soviet Russia . Liveright Press, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-87140-652-1 (reprint of the New York 1933 edition)
  • The Enormous Room . Dover Publ., Minola, NY 2002, ISBN 0-486-42120-1 (reprint of the New York 1922 edition)
    • German: The enormous space . Verlag Die Arche, Zurich 1984, ISBN 3-7160-1902-X (reprint of the Stuttgart 1954 edition)
    • German: The enormous space . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993, ISBN 3-499-40038-3 .
  • Him. A play . Liveright Press, New York 1970 (reprint of New York 1927 edition)
    • German: Him. Phantasmagoric game . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1969.
  • Tom . Arrow Press, New York 1935
    • German: Tom. a ballet . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1962.
  • Santa claus. A morality . Holt, New York 1946.
    • German: Santa Claus . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1961.


  • Helmut Heissenbüttel : Cummings in lower case . In: Akzente , 1983, No. 3, pp. 481-536, ISSN  0002-3957 .
  • Maurice Legemann: The poetry of EE Cummings . In: Poetry , Vol. 29 (1926), Issue 3, pp. 164-169, ISSN  0032-2032
  • Horst Meller: Edward Estlin Cummings. Pity this busy monster, manu child . In: Klaus Lubbers (ed.): The American poetry. From colonial times to the present . Bagel Verlag, Düsseldorf 1974, ISBN 3-513-02215-8 , pp. 394-405.
  • Susan Cheever: EE Cummings. A life . Pantheon Books, New York 2014, ISBN 978-0-307-37997-9 .
  • Nina von Dahlern: The man who heard the song of truth. Love as EE Cummings' concept of reality . AV Akademikerverlag, Saarbrücken 2012, ISBN 978-3-639-42880-3 .
  • Norman Friedman (Ed.): EE Cummings. A collection of critical essays . Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs 1972. ISBN 0-13-195552-7 .
  • Martin Heusser: I am my writing. The poetry of EE Cummings . Stauffenburg-Verlag, Tübingen 1997. ISBN 3-86057-065-X .
  • Richard S. Kennedy: Dreams in the mirror. A biography of EE Cummings . Liveright Publ., New York 1980. ISBN 0-87140-638-1 .
  • Richard S. Kennedy: EE Cummings revisited . Twayne, New York 1994. ISBN 0-8057-3995-5 .
  • Rushworth M. Kidder: EE Cummings. An introduction to the poetry . Columbia University Press, New York 1979. ISBN 0-231-04044-X .
  • Guy L. Rotella: EE Cummings. A reference guide . Hall, Boston 1979. ISBN 0-8161-8079-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. Horst Meller: Edward Estlin Cummings · pity this busy monster, manukind . In: Klaus Lubbers (Ed.): The American Poetry - From Colonial Times to the Present . Bagel, Düsseldorf 1974, ISBN 3-513-02215-8 , p. 401
  2. ^ Members: EE Cummings. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed February 25, 2019 .
  3. See the information on Mathias Pintscher's website [1] , accessed on April 19, 2016.
  4. Content: I and my parents. - I and their son. - I and self discovery. - I and you and is. - I and now and him. - I and am and Santa Claus.
  5. With an afterword by Klaus-Dieter Sommer.
  6. Contents: The old man who said why. - The elephant and the butterfly. - The house that ate mosquito pie. - The little girl named i.
  7. ^ Licensed editions in the publishing houses Kiepenheuer, S. Fischer and Klett-Cotta.
  8. Based on Harriet Beecher Stowes novel Onkel Toms Hütte .

Web links

Commons : EE Cummings  - album with pictures, videos and audio files