E.E. Cummings

October 14, 1894, Cambridge, MA -September 3, 1962,
Joy Farm, Silver Lake, NH

E. E. Cummings started writing in 1904 when he was 10. He went to Harvard University and got both his BA and his MA. In 1917, he published his first poems and traveled to France, where he became a volunteer ambulance driver in World War 1. When he started to experiment with grammar and punctuation, he found that he liked it better when his words were joined together and his punctuation was incorrect. He thought it showed more emphasis.

Since E. E. Cummings wrote with incorrect correct grammar, critics would say bad things about his poetry. But since he liked the freedom of no grammar, he continued not to listen to critics. E.E. Cummings is known for his incorrect grammar and punctuation today.


If freckles were lovely, and day was night,
And measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,
Life would be delight,—
But things couldn’t go right
For in such a sad plight
I wouldn’t be I.

If earth was heaven and now was hence,
And past was present, and false was true,
There might be some sense
But I’d be in suspense
For on such a pretense
You wouldn’t be you.

If fear was plucky, and globes were square,
And dirt was cleanly and tears were glee
Things would seem fair,—
Yet they’d all despair,
For if here was there
We wouldn’t be we.