Am reading Mark Scroggins’ biography of Louis Zukofsky, Poem of a Life. Will post notes now and then.

‘There exists probably in the labors of any valid artist the sadness of the horse plodding with blinkers.’ (Zukofsky’s essay on Chaplin, cited in Poem of a life, 178)


Zukofsky’s A test of poetry did not reference the excerpts of poems. If the poems…which have been presented anonymously interest the reader he [sic] should be moved to decide for himself [sic] their relative merits, without reference to their authorship.’ (144). Funny; is the same ‘philosophy of footnotes’ as Alain Badiou.


Zukofsky’s comment on Muriel Rukeyser’s poetry as being too influenced by Wallace Stevens and Hart Crane; ‘There has been history. And there have been examples of poetic art and invention – technics.’ (150)

Interesting use of ‘technics’ there, in the same way that Louis Armand uses it as a concept to inform his theory of a generalized technology, technology as inherent to poetics, using the concept of techne as generative systematicity.


in an elaboration of Zukofsky’s famous poetics of ‘an integral / Lower limit speech / Upper limit music’, he defines poetry as, ‘an order of words that as movement and tone (rhythm and pitch) approaches in varying degrees the wordless art of music as a kind of mathematical limit.’ (A Statement for Poetry (1950), cited in Poem of a life, 193)

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