In E. E. Cummings’s first collection of poems, Tulips & Chimneys (1923), one woman is more haunting than any other, although she is named in only a single poem: Marie Louise Lallemand. Cummings met Marie Louise in 1917. He was volunteering for ambulance duty in France during the Great War; she was working in Paris as a prostitute. Forever after, when Cummings remembered la guerre—for him, “the war” was always referred to in French—it was bound up with her:

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