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E. E. Cummings

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E. E. Cummings

(Cambridge, MA, 1894 - 1962, North Conway, NH)
Regarding capitalization: a leading Cummings scholar, Norman Friedman, addresses the issue. Here is the link: Excerpted: "It may at first seem of little import, but for a poet who paid such exacting attention to typography, it must be said once and for all that his name should be written and printed with the usual capital letters in their usual places: "E. E. Cummings.'' Let us dispose, first of all, of the usual reaction when his name is mentioned in conversation: "Oh, isn't he the poet who never uses capitals?" Even a casual look at his poems shows that of course he uses capitals—he uses them frequently, albeit not always conventionally. The same goes for spacing, word and line breaks, parentheses, and punctuation, not to mention grammar and syntax. What probably accounts for the common misperception that he is a lowercase poet is his usual printing of "I" as "i." Interestingly, he wrote in a letter to his mother, September 3, 1925 (Selected Letters, F. W. Dupee and George Stade, eds., 1969, pp. 108-9): "I am a small eye poet." Notice that he capitalizes the first-person singular, distinguishing between the writer of the letter and the writer of the poetry. And in his letters he most frequently used the uppercase form, with his signature at the bottom in caps..." Also, an article with a picture of his gravesite with all caps: "As we may have mentioned, due to the kindness of D. Jon Grossman's son, Jerome, we have the complete file of Jon's correspondence with Cummings. On making a preliminary tour through these letters, we found Jon preparing a French edition of his translations of Cummings' poetry, and on 27 February 1951 he wrote to the poet: "are you E.E.Cummings, ee cummings, or what?(so far as the title page is concerned)wd u like title page all in lowercase?" The poet replied on 1 March 1951: "E.E.Cummings, unless your printer prefers E. E. Cummings/ titlepage up to you;but may it not be tricksy svp[.]""

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