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[Here Cummings constructs an imaginary interview in which he connects his painting with his poetry.]

Why do you paint?  

For exactly the same reason I breathe.  

That’s not an answer.  

There isn’t any answer.  

How long hasn’t there been any answer?  

As long as I can remember.  

And how long have you written?  

As long as I can remember.  

I mean poetry.  

So do I.  

Tell me, doesn’t your painting interfere with your writing?  

Quite the contrary: they love each other dearly.  

They’re very different.  

Very: one is painting and one is writing.  

But your poems are rather hard to understand, whereas your paintings are so easy.  


Of course--you paint flowers and girls and sunsets; things that everybody understands.  

I never met him.  



Did you ever hear of nonrepresentational painting?  

I am.  

Pardon me?  

I am a painter, and painting is nonrepresentational.  

Not all painting.  

No: housepainting is representational.  

And what does a housepainter represent?  

Ten dollars an hour.  

In other words, you don’t want to be serious--  

It takes two to be serious.  

Well let me see...oh yes, one more question: where will you live after this war is over?  

In China; as usual.  


Of course.  

Wherabouts in China?  

Where a painter is a poet.