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E.E. Cummings is Dead

Sept. 3, 1962 - E.E. Cummings (pictured in 1920), who made poetic art out of commas and parentheses, died in North Conway, N.H., early today after having suffered a stroke. The poet, who was 67 years old, was taken to Memorial Hospital last night from his summer home on Silver Lake in nearby Madison. He died at 1:25 a.m. Mr. Cummings was a novelist and painter as well as a poet. To him, most people were not really alive, but merely “undead.” To escape being undead, in his view, one had to be an individual. The typographical oddities of Mr. Cummings’ poetry were one expression of this individuality. He wrote most of his poems without capital letters and usually, but not always, signed his name “e.e. cummings.” So far as he knew, he said, English was the only living language in which the pronoun “I” was written as a capital letter, and he saw no reason to be bound by this usage.

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