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a av Louis Zukofsky
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"a" (urspr publ 1978; utgåvan 1993)

av Louis Zukofsky

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
239484,069 (4)6
     River that must turn full after I stop dying      Song, my song, raise grief to music      Light as my loves' thought, the few sick      So sick of wrangling: thus weeping,      Sounds of light, stay in her keeping      And my son's face - this much for honor            -- from " 'A'-11" At long last, here is the whole of Louis Zukofsky's epic masterpiece"A" back in print with misprints corrected and a new, fresh introduction by the noted scholar Barry Ahearn. No other poem in the English language is filled with as much daily love, light, intellect, and music. As William Carlos Williams once wrote of Zukofsky's poetry, "I hear a new music of verse stretching out into the future."… (mer)
Medlem:shirinyan
Titel:"a"
Författare:Louis Zukofsky
Info:The Johns Hopkins University Press (1993), Paperback, 832 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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'A' av Louis Zukofsky (1978)

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My sweet unworded, we fall into disuse,
The sense that attached to us persists
Despite the yellow page of local history


Sir Edmund Hilary encounters Roberto Duran(1), a meeting burnished in fugue -- one containing labor history and untranslated fragments, replete with diacritics and yet the parts are parsed even reduced to a winding single file of syllables. Matters could go strophic, but they don't. They bend and ultimately creep, transformed into notation, an honoring of the sonic sublime. This is akin to the Cantos. What emerges from this forty year endeavor is man's love for his family. He simply didn't need to be so obscure. There is a debt to Pound and the flesh will be freed, if only by a technicality. Modernity left such stolid names why do we then yearn for an infinite addition. Pangloss would be proud. It is intriguing that Zukofsky was so enamored with Henry Adams; Pynchon was as well.

1) It was there and I can't handle any more. I viewed youtube readings by Charles Olson last night and I find myself cured. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
The career of Louis Zukofsky (1904–1978) has been overlooked by all but the most fervent students of American poetry, a situation that legendary house New Directions hopes to correct with its double-barreled publication of Zukosky's book-length epic "A" and Anew, a somewhat less menacing companion volume of shorter poems. To call Zukofsky an acquired taste would be an understatement; an 826-page opus of remarkable density, "A" has long held a shadowy legendary status as a stark obelisk of high modernism, the verse equivalent of Finnegan's Wake. The poems collected in Anew are accessible only by comparison, and represent a body of work that, taken alone, would qualify Zukofsky as a major figure in American modernism.

While Anew shows a progression of experimentation as a kind of running dialogue with Eliot, Pound, and Williams, all of whom were Zukofsky's peers, "A" is unlike anything else this reader, who has been studying and analyzing poetry in academic and professional contexts for over a quarter century, has ever encountered. The self-contained poetic universe of "A," Zukofsky's life's work, spans five decades of American life and contains a dizzying array of prosodic techniques, from torrential free verse to rigorous rhymed stanzas to terse minimalist tone sketches, including long passages written in a rolling, beautiful, and archaic-sounding imaginary Renaissance language of Zukofsky's own invention. In other sections it ruthlessly breaks language down into the smallest units of sound possible, a process as radically inventive as that practiced by any subsequent, and more celebrated, avant-garde; it is rife with puns, spoonerisms, homophones, double-entendres, and other forms of wordplay; it is formidably allusive, conducting a thematic conversation with the mental and aesthetic achievements of Bach, Marx, Henry Adams, Shakespeare, Vico, Spinoza, classical theology, quantum physics, and many other artists and fields; it includes soaring passages depicting the Great Depression, World War II, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the Vietnam War alongside sequences of great domestic and connubial tenderness.

Perhaps most radically of all, the staggering scope and range of Zukofsky's great poem demand a redefinition of the act of reading. Unless you are a doctoral candidate in English literature or other specialist, there is no practical way to attack "A" except to surrender to it, riding its relentless and incantatory language in a kind of mental surfing. Such surrender is not easy to achieve or to sustain, but this vast and genuinely unique piece of writing repays the patience and willingness necessary to enter a trance-like state of receptiveness with a vivid and hallucinatory literary experience.

In reading Zukofsky I kept thinking of Jonathan Franzen's celebrated 2002 essay "Mr. Difficult." Franzen understands—better than any of his peers, I think—the strange, almost masochistic, joy of reading challenging literature, of "a kind of penance" that one engages "in a state of grim distraction, like somebody going out to score hard drugs." Immersing oneself in the work of this humble, nearly anonymous man, dead now three decades, carries the same potent, slow kick—for those who dare.

From the L Magazine, February 2, 2011 ( )
1 rösta MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
Some of this I adore. Some of this is too abstruse for me the first read through, as Zukofsky is _never_ going to talk down to his readers, or even bother to give them an entry to his mind. But there's a wonderful collection of fragments in here about passing on wisdom, and pastoralism, and the life of Bach and being a sad Marxist watching the world crack open for World War II, and the plays of Euripides and Aristophanes, and about growing up, and old, in that ridiculous 20th century many of us saw the tail-end of. I won't re-read this for a long time, but I'm glad I made it through. ( )
1 rösta Snakeshands | Jul 30, 2011 |
This is one of those books I'd been waiting for for years and was so excited about I grabbed and bought the hardcover as soon as I saw it on the shelf. "A / round of fiddles playing Bach..."
  languagehat | Sep 22, 2005 |
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     River that must turn full after I stop dying      Song, my song, raise grief to music      Light as my loves' thought, the few sick      So sick of wrangling: thus weeping,      Sounds of light, stay in her keeping      And my son's face - this much for honor            -- from " 'A'-11" At long last, here is the whole of Louis Zukofsky's epic masterpiece"A" back in print with misprints corrected and a new, fresh introduction by the noted scholar Barry Ahearn. No other poem in the English language is filled with as much daily love, light, intellect, and music. As William Carlos Williams once wrote of Zukofsky's poetry, "I hear a new music of verse stretching out into the future."

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