On A

Over at the Poetry Foundation’s website, Justin Taylor has a very interesting article on A by Louis Zukofsky, certainly one of the biggest, most imposing poems you could ever ask to read.

Neither Zukofsky nor “A” has any real claim on the public imagination. Even among poets he doesn’t seem to be much read, discussed, or taught, except by a handful of deeply entrenched partisans. I started to investigate whether—and why—this might be the case, but then I realized that I was squandering a huge opportunity. The question of whether Zukofsky is truly neglected (and of whether said neglect has been just) is far less interesting than the simple fact that one can approach Zukofsky with a readerly freshness—an innocence, if you will—that is perilously hard to come by for such art without equal. This is in starkest contrast to Pound’s Cantos, which has never fully emerged from its author’s divisive personal reputation (and probably never will). “A” is perhaps the last major work of American Modernism to feel like uncharted territory.

“A” is a book-length poem divided into 24 sections, one for each hour in the day. Begun in 1927 and completed in 1974, “A” is self-consciously the major work of its author’s life, but it also seeks to present that life in something like real time.

Recent Posts

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



The Surrender is Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning his lifelong desire to be a woman.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.