F O R E W O R D
On the assumption that my technique is either complicated or original or both, the publishers have
politely requested me to write an introduction 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
FOREWORD, is 5
Edward Estlin CUMMINGS