F O R E W A R D

On the assumption that my technique is either complicated or original
or both, the publishers have politely requested me to write an intro-
duction to this book.
At least my theory of technique, if I have one, is very far from
original; nor is it complicated. I can express it in fifteen words, by
quoting The Eternal Question And Immortal Answer of burlesk, viz.
“Would you hit a woman with a child?–No, I’d hit her with a brick.”
Like the burlesk comedian, I am abnormally fond of that precision
which creates movement.
If a poet is anybody, he is somebody to whom things made matter
very little–somebody who is obsessed by Making. Like all obsessions,
the Making obsession has disadvantages; for instance, my only interest
in making money would be to make it. Fortunately, however, I should
prefer to make almost anything else, including locomotives and roses.
It is with roses and locomotives (not to mention acrobats Spring
electricity Coney Island the 4th of July the eyes of mice and Niagara
Falls) that my “poems” are competing.
They are also competing with each other, with elephants, and with
El Greco.
Ineluctable preoccupation with The Verb gives a poet one priceless
advantage: whereas nonmakers must content themselves with the
merely undeniable fact that two times two is four, he rejoices in a
purely irresistible truth (to be found, in abbreviated costume, upon
the title page of the present volume).

E.E. CUMMINGS