The most formally radical poet to emerge among the second wave of American modernists, Louis Zukofsky continues to influence younger poets attracted to the rigor, inventiveness, and formal clarity of his work. Born on New York's Lower East Side in 1904 to emigrant parents, Zukofsky achieved early recognition when he edited an issue of Poetry devoted to the Objectivist poets, including George Oppen and Charles Reznikoff. In addition to an abundance of short lyrics and a sound-based version of the complete poems of Catullus, he worked for most of his adult life on the long poem "A" of which he said: "In a sense the poem is an autobiography: the words are my life."
Zukofsky's work has been described as difficult although he himself said: "I try to be as simple as possible." In the words of editor Charles Bernstein, "This poetry leads with sound and you can never go wrong following the sound sense... Zukofsky loved to create patterns, some of which are apparent and some of which operate subliminally... Each word, like a stone dropped in a pond, creates a ripple around it. The intersecting ripples on the surface of the pond are the pattern of the poem." Here for the first time is a selection designed to introduce the full range of Zukofsky's extraordinary poetry.
About: A single-volume selection of the influential Objectivist poet's works includes several of his short pieces as well as excerpts from his twenty-four-part, 'A,' in a collection that offers insight into his experimentations with exacting literary details and use of musical language.
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