ZUKOFSKY BIO.

One of my favorite American poets is Louis Zukofsky, and in a comment to this post I asked “Has anyone done a Zukofsky bio?” Well, now someone has, to wit Mark Scroggins; the publisher page says:

The Poem of a Life is the first critical biography of Louis Zukofsky, a fascinating and crucially important American modernist poet. It details the curve of his career, from the early “Waste Land”-parody “Poem beginning ‘The’” (1926) to the dense and tantalizing beauties of his last poems, “80 Flowers” (1978), paying special attention to the monumental, complex, and formally various epic poem “A,” on which Zukofsky labored for almost fifty years, and which he called “a poem of a life.”
Zukofsky was a protégé of Ezra Pound, an artistic collaborator and close friend of William Carlos Williams, and the leader of a whole school of 1930s avant-garde poets, the Objectivists. Later in life he was close friends with such younger writers as Robert Creeley, Paul Blackburn, Robert Duncan, Jonathan Williams, and Guy Davenport. His work spans the divide from modernism to postmodernism, and his later writings have proved an inspiration to whole new generations of innovative poets. Zukofsky’s poetry is oblique, condensed, and as fantastically detailed as the late writings of James Joyce, yet it bears at every point the marks of the poet’s life and times.

This I have to read. (Via wood s lot.)

Comments

  1. Vance Maverick says:

    Thanks! One for the Shopping List.
    Randomly: I was somewhat disturbed, reading “A”, to find him quoting from one of those compendia of dubious collective nouns (like “An Exaltation of Larks”). Remembering that spasm of snobbishness now, I’m inclined to give Z the benefit of the doubt — as your comparison to Joyce suggests, anything and everything went into “A”, not necessarily as an endorsed utterance of the author.

  2. Scroggins’s blog offers good reading as well.

  3. des von glanzende-overduidelijkheid says:

    So… How was it?

  4. Never actually read it! So many books, so little time…

  5. Zukofsky’s poetry is oblique, condensed, and as fantastically detailed as the late writings of James Joyce, yet it bears at every point the marks of the poet’s life and times.

    That “yet” seems downright bizarre. Did the writer mean to suggest that Joyce’s late writings (Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, I suppose) did not bear at every point the marks of etc. etc.?

  6. des von bladet says:

    Well, Ulysses is entirely about a city Joyce had stopped living in by the time he wrote it. Is there much about Trieste whorehouses in the Wake?

    As for the Zukofsky, according to an Amazon reviewer “you have to be into poetry to take this on”. Hmmm.

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