A man who collects his poems screws together the boards of his coffin. Those outside wil have all the fun, but he is entitles to his last confession. These verses were written here and there now and then over forty years and four continents. Heaped together they make a book.
If ever I learned the trick of it, it was mostly from poets long dead whose names are obvious: Wordsworth and Dante, Horace, Wyat and Spenser; but two living men also taught me much: Ezra Pound and in his sterner, stonier way, Louis Zukofsky. It would not be fitting to collect my poems without mentioning them.
With sleights learned from others and an ear open to melodic analogies I have set down words as a musician pricks his score, not to be read in silence, but to trace in the air a pattern of sound that may sometimes, I hope be pleasing. Unabashed boys and girls may enjoy them. This book is theirs.
I am grateful to those who printed my poems from time to time above all to Poetry, of Chicago, whose editors have been kind to me one after another.
~Collected Works of Basil Bunting