Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in lowercase letters as e.e. cummings (in the style of some of his poems—see name and capitalization, below), was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright.
Cummings drew inspiration for a novel from war. His novel The Enormous Room describes his time spent in a World War I prison camp.
Cummings' work separates itself from his contemporaries. Cummings developed a unique style of writing, full of experimentation with form, spelling, syntax, and punctuation.
Cummings's signature totem was the elephant. The elephant was favorite animal, and he had drawn them since boyhood.
The poet's interest in elephants can be traced to early readings with his father of Kipling's The Jungle Book. The elephant appears in Cummings's "valentines," which were dedicated to Marion Morehouse, his third wife.
His unique style lent itself to everyday life. Edward Estlin Cummings consistently celebrated the ordinary, reviled pretentiousness, and scourged conformity.
Cummings was a social man. He counted some of the most important artists of his time as friends, including Erza Pound and Ernest Hemingway.
Cummings was not only a writer, but also a painter. At the end of the First World War Cummings went to Paris to study art.
"Cummings's critical reputation has never matched his popularity. The left-wing critics of the 1930s were only the first to dismiss his work as sentimental and politically naïve."
Cummings was the finest erotic poet of his time. While his contemporaries wrote about love, he wrote about copulation.
Unlike his predecessors, such as T.S. Eliot, Cummings spent his entire life as an artist. He painted in the afternoon and wrote at night. He had only one steady job his entire life.