Lost Lunar

Mina Lny








i { I


Thi^s book is

Mina Loy's to giae

Mina Iny, 1909. Stephen Howeis photograph.

to Arthur Crauan, toella Bayer, and Fabienne Bencdict.

With their blessing,

it is also for

Case, Strand, and, Anna

F;tst puhlkhed by Fanar, Strcus
First publkhed


Ciroux, lnc., New York.

in Cteat Bitain in 1997

Carcanet Press Limited 4th Floor, Conauon Court

2- 1 6 BlackJriars Street


M3 5BQ

Introduction and edition copyight@ Rrrger L. Conouer 1995 Works rtf Mina l-oy copyight @ The Estate of Mina Loy 1996 The ight oJ Roger L. Conouer to be identifed as the editor of this work has been asserted by him in aaordance with the Copyr;ght, Designs and Patents Aet oJ 1988. All nghts reseoetl.




Jor this book

k availablefrom the Britkh Library. ISBN I 85754 326 2
The publbher acknowledges

Jrom the

Aru Council oJ England.



Printed and bound by Antony Rowe Ltd, Eastbourne

Songs to Joannes





Silting the appraisable Pig Cupid his rosv snout Rooting erotic garbage "Once upon a time" Pulls a weed white star-toPPed
Among wild


sown in mucous-membrane

I would an eve in a Bengal light Eternity in a sky-rocket Constellations in an ocean
Whose rivers run no fresher

Than a trickle of saliva


are suspect Plac,es


must live in my iantern
to the bellows

Trirnming subliminal fl icker


Of Experience



The skin-sack

ln which a wanton duality

All the completion of mv inli"uctuous impulses
LLti in f'lnr"nrn- ro. l9t)9, Stephen Hauets photogroph iCollet'tion Rog"r ['. Oonoter'i

Something the shape of a man

To the casual vulgaritv of the rnerell obsen'ant

More of a c]ock-work mechanism Running dorvn against time To'which I am not paced My finger-tips are numb from fretting your hair A God's door-mat On the threshold of vour rnind

Among their fearful lurnilure

To teach them to tell me their seerets Before I guessed .-Sweeping the brood clean out

We rnight have r:oupled

Midnight empties the street Of all but us
Three I arn undecided which way back To the left a boy wing has been washed in the rain

In the bed-ridden monopolv of a moment
Or broken flesh u'ith one another

At the profane comrnunion table Where rvine is spili'd on promiscuous lips
We might have given birth to a butter{y

-One other wili The

never be clean any


Pulling door-bells to remind
Those that are snug

With the dailv news Prinled in blood on it* 'a ings IV
f)nce in a mezzanino
The starry'ceiling Vaulted an unimaginable family Bird-like aborlions With human throats And Wisdom's eyes Who wore lamp-shade red dresses And woolen hair One bore a baby In a padded porte-enfant Tied with a sarsenet ribborr To her goose's wings But for the abominahle shadows I would ha-re iived

To the right a haloed ascetic Threading houses
Probes wounds for souls --The poor can't wash in hot Since you got home to


And I don't know which turning to take



I know the Wire-Puller intimately And if it were not for the people
On whom you keep one eve

You could look straight at me And Time would be set back

My pair of feet Smack the flag-stones

That are something left over from your walking The wind stuffs the scum of the white street

Into my lungs and my nostrils Exhilarated birds Prolonging flight into the night
Never reachitg-*

A colnrless onion
You derobe Sheath by sheath


am the iealous store-house of the candle-ends lit your adolescent leaming

A disheartening odour About your nervy hands

Voices break on the con{ines of passion

Behind Cod's eyes There might Be other lights

Desire Suspicion Man
Solve in the humid carnage


When we lifted Our eye-lids on Love

Flesh from flesh I)raws the inseparable delight Kissing at gasps to catch it

Is it true
That have set you apart Inviolate in an utter crystallization 0{ all the jolting of the crowd Taught me willingly to live to share




Of coloured 'roices And laughing honey

And spermatozoa At the core of Nothing

In the milk of the Moon

Or are you Only the other half
Of an ego's necessity
Scourging pride with compassion

Shuttie-cock and battle-door

To the shallow sound of dissonance And boom of cscaping breath

A little pink-love And {'eathers are strewn XI
Dear one at your mercy Our Universe
trs onl,-i,

Come to me There is something I have got to tell you and I can't teii Something taking shape Sornething that has a new name


rrew dimension

A new use A new illusion

It is ambient


it is in your

love or the other thing Only the impat--t of lighted bodies Knocking sparks o{f each other


In chaos

Something only for you Something that I must not see

It is in my ears

Something very resonant Something that you must not hear Something only for me

Seldom Trying for Love
Fantasy dealt them out as gods Two or three men looked onlY human

Let us be very jealous Very suspicious Very conservative Very cruel Or we might make an end of the jostling of aspirations Disorb inviolate egos
Where two or three are welded together They shall become god Oh that's right Keep away from me Please give me a push Don't let me understand you Don't realise me Or we might tumble together

But you alone

Superhuman apparentlY I had to be caught in the weak eddY 0f your drivelling humanitY
To love you most

We might have lived together In the lights of the Arno Or gone apple stealing under the sea Or played Hide and seek in love and cob-webs And a lullaby on a tin-pan

Identicai Into the terrific Nirvana
Me you



And talked till there were no more tongues To talk with And never have known any better


Everlasting passing apparent
To you

I don't care
imperceptible Where the legs of the legs of the furniture are walking to Or what is hidden in the shadows they stride Or what would look at me If the shutters were not shut

I bring the


nascent virginity of for the moment


a warm r:olour orr the battle-field Heavl' on my knees as a countefpane Count counter I counted the fringe oJ'the towel trvo tassels clinging together l,et the square room fall awav From a round vacuum Dilating with mv breath


Leading astray Of fireflies

Aerial quadrille


Off one another
Again conjoining In recaptured pulses Of light You too Had something At that time Of a green-iit glow-worm

Out of the severing Of hill from hill The interim 0f star from star The nascent



Yet slowlv drenched To raylessness In rain
XX Let Joy go solace-winged To flutter whorn she mav concern

Nothing so conserving As cool cleaving Note of the Q H U Clear carving Rreath-givine Pollen smeiiing



store up nights against you Heavy with shut-flower:'s nightmares

White teliing

0f siaking
Through fingers Ilunning; water (,rass hauims

Stack nt-,ons Curled to the solitaire Core of the

Green things grow

(]row to

For lhe cerebral Forager's revival Upon bossed bellies Of mountains Rolling in the sun And flowered flummery

XXV Licking the Arno
The little rosy
Tongue of Dawn

Inter{eres with our eyelashes S/e trciddle to it Round and round

To my silly shoes

In ways without you


And turn into machines

As things go

Till the

sun Subsides in shining

Laughter in solution
Stars in a stare Irredeemable pledges O{ pubescent consummations

Melts some of us Into abysmal pigeon-holes
Passion has bored

In warmth
Some few of us

Rot To the recurrent moon

Crow to the level of cool plains Cutting our foot-hold With steel eyes

To the pure white Wickedness of pain

Shedding our petty pruderies From slit eyes We sidle up To Nature

The procreative truth of Me Petered out In pestiient Tear drops Little lusts and lucidities And prayerful lies Muddled with the heinous acerbity Of your street-corner smile

that irate pornographist

Nothing Inconc.- i vable concept


Insentient repose
The hands of races Drop off from

-Mist From your

risr of livirrg--

Immodifiable plastic
The contents Of our ephemeraJ conjunction

Etiolate body And the white dawn

your New Day Shuts down on me
Unthinkable that white over there
Is smoke from vour house

In aloofness from \luch
Flowed to approachment of

There was a man and a woman In the way Whiie the Irresolvable Rubbed wirh our daily deaths Impossible eyes


Evolution fall foul of
Sexual equality

The steps go up ibr ever And they are whire And the first step is the

Prettily miscalculate Similitude
Unnatural selection Breed such sons arrd daughters As shall jibber at eaeh other Uninterpretable cryptonvms Under the moon

Coloured conclusions


to svnthetic

Whiteness Of my Emergence

Cive them some way of braying brassily For caressive calling
Or to homophonous hiccoughs Transpose the laugh Let them suppose that tears Are snowdrops or molasses Or anything Than human insufficieneies Begging dorsal vertebrae

And I am burnt quite white In the climacteric Withdrawal of your sun And rvills and words ali white

Illirnitable monotone


where there is nothing to see

But a white towel
Wipes the cvmophanous sweat meetirrg be the turning To the antipodean And Form a blurr Anything

Than seduce them To the one As simple satisfaction For the other

Our souvenir ethics to

Of a busy-body Longing to interfere so With the intimacies Of your insolent isolation

Let them clash together From their incognitoes

In seismic


For far further Differentiation Rather than watch Own-self distortion Wince in the alien ego

Crucifixion 0f an illegal ego's
Eclosion On your equilibrium Caryatid of an idea




Prenatai plagiarism
Fcetal buffoons Caught tricks

Wracked arms Index extremities

In vacuum
To the unbroken fall

From archetypal pantomime Stringing emotions Looped aloft

The moon is cold

For the blind eyes That Nature knows us with And the most of Nature is green

Where the Mediterranean


The prig of passion To your professorial paucity Proto-plasm was raving mad Evolving

What guaranty
For the proto-form We fumble



the preeminent iitterateur



{P@ru$&& r91S-BeSS)

lt .




fernove, of viewing her first battle in the sex war as both a personal defeat and a nroral victor-y, and carr .:oncede that the complicity. il not duplicity, of her status as an "excepted" n'oman \ras a irap which left her with only one ,:horce. i rlo not wish to transpose too much biography onto this poem, but there is also tlie suggestion that she rnav have fantasized-if not actuall'r' pe-

titioned-tier lover-. to father (another) illegitimate child, just as there


hints elservhere that she may have miscarried or aborted a chiici by SH. It seems just to give Ml, the last worrl in this particular chapter of her literary struggles on the hom(m)e lt'oni: "Now dear Carlo-If ;rou iike vou can sa'y that Marinetti nfluenced 6smerelv hy waking me up-I am in nr,, way con,sid,ered a Futurist bv futurists& as for Papini he has in nn way influenced--m! a-orkl! so don't say a word

it--he's very passatist-r"aily" t.ML to CVV. 1914: CVVP).


,Songs to Joannes

it hy August

1917 ML had compieted this se1915, and made frequent references to the work'in-progress in letters she wrote to CVV that year. Initially, she expressed hesitation about the work (". . . no interest to the public . . ^ for 'rour e./es only") ano concern about eircrrlating it at all: "I I'eel rnv family on torr o{ me--tile'i want to read some of rnv pretiy poems!. , . . one friend... has dubbeti my rvork pure pornographv-". When SH rvarned her that she was ruining her reputation b1,'ruriting as she did, she was annoyed and discourased. But as the ;rear and sequence matured, it was clear that the poem had intro1e,:teti itself deeply withrn her psyche: "ll this book of mine is no good it settles nre--l am the book and I hav" that esoteric sensation ol creatingt" By the time shr: had completed the project. she couid hardiy contain her eagerness to make rt prrbiic: "l send heren'ith-the second palt of Songs to Joanne,.-rhe best -"ince Sappho-the,r' are interestrng. . . - if you wanted me to be a happv woman for five mrnutes or more, vou would get lthem] published. . . . My book is won.lerfui-it frightens me." In Julv 1915. the 6rst four sections of what was eventually to become a thirty-four-song cvcie appeared under the title "l,ove Songs" in the inaugurai is,"ue of other:: A trfagozine of the Neu Verse (I:I, July 191.5, pp. 6-8). The s,.andal created by the debut o{ Others quicki',. earned the magazine "a reputation bordering on infamy." AK re,ralied two decades iater in Troubadou.r: An, tlutobiograoln (Nev,'York: I-iveright, 1925). He proudly described the "smallsized riot'" that broke out rvhen Othcrs frrst hit the stands. ML's "Love Songs" werp the favorite victim of the attacks: "Detractor-s shuddereC at Mina Loy's subiect rnatter anci derided her eliinination of punctuation marks and the augLrerrce. She had drafted most of

15. SONGS TO .IOANNES. By early

dacious spacing of her iines," not to mention her expiicit examination of intereourse, orgasm, bodily {irnction, and sexual desire. Although ihe \rzis ver to mak€ her firsi trip to America, ML had alreadv securecl her reputatron in the New York avant-garcie literary conrmunit.,'. In hrs famous surve,v ol Arner, ican poeiql, Our Shging Stresrgt.h (Nev; York: Corvarrj-NIr:Cann, 1929), AIi agarn described the "',,iolent sensation" ihat ML's "Love Songs" created: her "clinical frankness [andJ sardonic ronclusions, wedciecl to a madl1, elliptical styie scornlul oI lhe regulation ttrammar, svntax antl pun<:tuation . . . tlrove our trritics into iurious despair. . . .'fhe utter nonchalanc.: in {evealing the ser:rets o{ sex was denounced as nothrng less than lewd. It took a strong digestivc apparatus to read Mina Loy. . , .To reduce eroticisrn to the stv u/as dn outra€{e, and to do so without.,'erbs, sentetrce structure.. . irvasjrven rn{:,re ollensive." AK was referring io the stv of the limicoious "Pig Cupid" in MI.'s all-busrness opening stanza to "Love Songs," the mosl ibmous of ali hel lirre,.. In rerailing the outrage of "ihe average critic . . . here in enlightcned Manhattan" toward "Love Songs" iri general anci its hrsr stanza in oarticuiar, AK also made referencr to lineai qualities ofanother lature. He iiescrited the poei. as the "exotic and beautifui . . . English Jewess, Mina Luy, an ariist as rvell as a poet," theri degcribed hel avant-garde r:redentiais: "She irnbibeti the prer:epis ol Apollinaire and Marinetti arxl became a Futurist with all the earnestness and irony of a woman possesseC and ubsessed with the sense of humarr experience and disillusion." AK was the first -rvriter to erplicitly acknorvledge NIL'. debt tu !-TIVi's Futurrst manifestus, or to comrnent directly on her svntar and subiect malter in terms ol liuturist ter:hnique. Her replacerrrent of "the tboiish pauses made by conrnras and periods" with the more intuitional biank spaces and dashes, her mixing ol upper- and iower-case ietteis, lrer..arly,use ol collage anci disjunction, and the charged sexuai energy of her lxrerns re{iect the influence of FTM anri are r:orrsistenr with thc principie, he a.lrocated in his rnanifesto "'lhe l)estnrr:tion ni'Syntax" (19131. That Ni[, uset] these techniques i1 seruice of aims direetiy snathematical tc, FTM's makes thr culturai irnpact ol her appropriation all the more signilicant. When her Lrver l;ecame the "other." she turned his toois into her weapons. "Had :r man wntten these poerns"" AK recaileci ol "l,ur'. Songs," thev might have been tolcrated. "But a r,;oman rvrote therr, a rvonian l{ho dre"sed like a lady and painteti charmirrg iamp-shaties." Her titie promisetl rorrdn.-. Bui her songs delivered unmelodic se'-. Chansons .sans chanson AK's comment rvas the first to acknorciedge a deepiy genciered. largelv unspoken bias on the part of thc r:.tica1 establishmer.rt's rnrtral reacrion io these transgressive lyrics. AK ler:alled that thc uarly reviewri of "l,ove Songs" puzzled ML as much as they injured her. This was aiso true ol the eari1,rejections, which ML referred to in a letter arddressed to CV V in.d.. l915). CVV haci been encouraging her to rvrite "something rvithout a iexual urr(lercurrent." Her response: "I know nothing but lilt-and that is generallv reducible to sex. " .



Apro-po of Joannes Songs-rvhv won't the pubs publish [?]. This is very sad. And ishv did Arn'i l,owell hote mv things? . . . l)ear Carlo. I'm trving to think of a subje,.'t tha.t's not sexv to rvrite about . . . & I can't in life." Bv 1920, free love -vas the toast of free verse; E. E. Cummings and EdnaSt. Vincent Millav were considered the ultra-sexual poets of the hour. ML's experirnents harl helped clear a path for both. but she was already heing trimmecl out cf modern poetn''s bodr. as if she rvas a prernature grorvth. If critics reacted quickll to the pubJication of "Love Songs." Ml, dici. too. V"ithin weeks. she rvrote to CVV that she likerl "the tendencv of'Others, and the ri.av it iook[ed but was] rather sorry that some uords nere misprinted such as . . . 'Sitting the appraisable' []. I.2] insread of silting the appraisable-.and 'there are'instead o{'1hese are suspect places'[. I.13]." Compar:ing the l9I5 Others texi to the only kno,,vn MS of this poern (a signed and dated ilgl5] HV of l-lV). it is evident that the errors she reierred to .r{.ere not present in the
handwritten text (CVVP). But it is also possible ro see hov.the words in question

couid be misread bv less than astute surveyors of her ca,"ual cursive script. Fragmentarr- drali-* of other "Love Songs" exist at YCAL, but not in sufficiently rvhole or finished states tc' sen,e as copv-texts. Tu'o years later the complete sequence appeared, iaking up an entire issue of Others (3:6, April 1917, pp. 3-20). The above-mentioned errors had been corrected, btit certain other changes inconsistent with the HV and the l9l5 printing were introduced. Some of thent clearly bore ML's signature. l'or example. the last four linesr of IV in 1915: l-or I had guessed mine That iJ I shouldfind \'0ti And bring iou u ith me
The brood t:ould, he

istei is RM's casual statement quoted in Robert E. Kr-'oll" ed.,I[cAlm'tn and. the Inst Ceneration (Lincoln: Universrty ol'Nebraska Press. 19fi2, p.226), rnrhere lte merltions checking prool.s of IB in Rapallo" ltali', err route lioni Spain to Fratic,r. For the l9lT publit:ation, Ml, made sure trr (:orreot the errors that bothered her most in 1915, substituting ''silting" Ibr "sitting" (1. tr.2) and "Tlres.:" {'or "There" 0. I.l3) in the opening se(,'iiun. Bevonci lhat. she made a few rre'r' letisions (e.g., the ending of IV) before publishing, the sequence tn Others.l'|rc surprising appearancc ol "siliing" (i. 1.2) in LB in place of l'hat had l.ieer, wrungly printeJ as "sittirig" {19f5) and corre(.'te(i to "silting" (HV, }917) is a possible late revision, liut nrore likeh a printer's error. C)r. as Januzzi has suggested. this could reflect ML's attempt to rectii'v rvhat she knerv had beetr a problernatic line in 191S-having forgotten her earlier solution. I do not vieu.the L9 rendition of "Love Sonlas" as an attempi to put the 191 7 cycle into finai order hut rather as a sepal'ate nanative invoiving many ol the sanle strategies. fhe result is an altc,gether dif{erent-and arguabiv less successiui-effort. Therelirre I present the lB versir.rn in Appendix D.

'llie text of ''Songs tu Joannes" presented here necessarill reiies orr the l9i7 Orlrers version as its copv-tert. and varies from it in relatively l'ew instar',cr:s.

clean out

becarne two

in l9l7:




Other charrges were more questionable (e.g., "white anri star-topped" replaceci "white star-topperi" in 1. I.6: "sewn" replaced "sown" in l. L7; "spill't" replaced "spilled" in l. III.5). ML had not indir:ated that these lines contained errors in her i9l5 complaint. More important, she reverted to the original HV oflines I.6 and 1.7 rvhen she reformuiated the sequence in 1923 (ZB), seemingiy confirming her original textual intent. But L8 preserued other changes made in 1917, such as the ending of IV. At this remove, in the absence ol proofs bearing her corrections, it is impossible to distinguish printer's errors from editorial change,s from ML's own alterations or to know what "repairs" she might have made in 1q17, then reconsidered in 1923. My assLrmption, finally, is that the l9l7 reniiering of l. I. 6-7 is either non-authorial or an authorial revision that rvas iater recantedl that it does not stand. The only evidence that i have ever found indicating that proofs of LB ex'


the brood clean oul

The 1917 text, after all, is the source 1br thirty t,f the thirtv-four original parts. I relv on ML's letters, and variants in the earlier (HV) and later (IB) .,'ersioris, only to mediate discrepancies in I-IV, as mentioned above. In most instances, first and final intentiolrs converge. V,i here thev do r,ot, the cop\'-te\t or..tlit,,rral judgment prevails. In the present edition" I have not prefaced this sequenc:e l'ith the dedicatorl' p()em, "To You" (Otlrers Uutv 1916, pp. 27-2Bl). as I did in LLBB2. Januzzi has persuaded me that tlespite ML's plea to C\iV [(n.d., 1915) to "get Songs lbr Joannes publisheci lbr rne-all together-printed on one sicle of each page onlv-& a large round in the middle of each page-& one whole entirel,v blarrk page with nothing on it betweeir the first and secorrd parts-(pause in between rnoods)-the dedication-"fo YOU"')], I mav have taken this request too literally in LLB82. I believe her caution is correct. I nor.r'finci it difficult to read "To You" as a prelude to "Songs to Joannes," either thematicali-l or structuralll,. It has therefore been left out of the present etlition altogether. I erplain these issucs in detail for several reasorrs. This is arnong the nu,st
frequentlv discussed, exr;erpteci, and anthologized ol'l{L's poems; "l-ove Songs" and its often lbrgotten predeciessor. "Songs to Joanrres," have a padiculariy cornplicated textual and editorial histor_v; r:ertain lirres, especialiy in the cipen-

ing section which I have just beerr dist--ussing, have bcen the subject of nrole speculation and uncertaintv than any other lines she produceti. Mv decisions should be subjer:t to question, but my reasons shoulcl not.

I have made the lbllowing emendations to the 1917 te-xi, and reiraineil liorn rnaking others, as explained belotv. Dashes here (colresponrl to - - -) dashes in Lorrs l9l7 text, and are counted as lirrt:s ol tlpe rvhen tirev occupv

ieft of the j. The

a complete line. for exampie XXX.S. This is important onlv for the purpose 6f t:ross-referencing lines with emendations helow. The LLB96 version is to the

XXIX. 1l: caressivel carressive
XXIX.2B: (Editor's Abte: The correct spelling wouid be "int'ognittis"" but I have choscn not to emend in Iavor of Jarruzzi's eirchunting sug,g,c*tir'n that this may echo thc "philosophers toes" passage itt another pcerl {eaturing GP [see rr. 8]. It is also prssil,le that a l)un is inlended here: i e '
a low-dourr. loe-lo-iur ur8asni.l

7 Orheru version is to the right:

I.6: white star-topperi (follorving H\r, ZB)] white and star-ropped)
(Editor's Note: The HV version reads "white star-toppeci," as does the first apDearanee in 1915 Others antl iater printings. rncluding LB.) L7: sovrn (following HV. LB)l sewn

XXX.6: archetvpall architypai

HV rearjs "sown." as ijoes 1915 Others and later print_ ings. includins IB.) I.8: Bengai (foilorving HV anrl frED)l bengal \Ed,itor's Note: A Bengai light. in nineteenth-century usage, was a firework or ffare used for signais. producing a stead_v and vivrd biue light.) III.5: spill'd (foiiorvrng HV and OED)I spill'r
iEd.i.tor's Aote: The

XXXIV.I: litterateur (ibllowing OEDI iiterateur
Page breaks irr 191? Others occrr at these iines, sotrretitnes making stanza breaks ambiguous. Based on sertse, HV, and iB, I havr: dc,'iried thai 1917 page breaks do not always coincrde rr'ith stanza irreaks. but r.lo in these instances (marked lry *). anci have lineated the plesent tert acrlortiirrgll:

(Editor's Note: In 199-3. Angeia Coon ariapteci this sectinn {III) for performance by the spoken-word banrt Biocdlest [San Francisco].) IILT: riail.,' nervs (following HV)l ciailv-nervs

II:5/6 (man i'l'o) *IV:B/9 (hair i Unel

XIll 25/26:


/ 0r)

IV.l l:

XVIII: 2/3: (hill I The)

salsenetl sarsanet



don't] dont

IX.6: spermatozoal

*\lX: 22123: tlight / Yuut \Xll: 4/5: lrevivai I Uoonl
XXIV: 6/7: llies / Muddled) XXVI: 2/3: (eyes / We)


(Edi.torli ,Noter "shuttlecock and battlerjore" would be the correct OED spellings, but i assume t.hat ML is deiiberateiy punning here. Her spelling

stands. i

XIX.3: (Ed.itorlr

"QHU" remains the most successful poser in ML's

entire ierrcon. Its meaning.

ii anv. has so far resisted exiraction. I once suspected it was an acronym" or a pun disguised as one. along the lines oi Marcel Duchamp's (1920). But no apposrtive word or trans-

XXVIII: 4/5: ('Forever / Coloured) *XXIX: 4/5: iSimilitude / Unnaturai) *XXIX: 29l3U: (orgasm / For) XXXI: 2/3: (busy-body I Longrngs Ir, imaginative terms "Joannes" is probabiv a hgure ,roliaged out .rf illl.'s
tailed relationships with severai tnale iovers. Itt biographical terms he is most closely patrerneC after one-GP ("Joarrnes" trarrslates to "(liovarrni'' rri Italianl. Follorving her {allout wrth GP (see n. B) alier atr enthralirrrent that lasteci over a year, ML confessed tr, CV\/ [n.d., l9i5i that ''love has '-'alnred dott'n t, the thing that erists-'Joannes'is the most astourtding creature that e'ier livetiin the light ol my imagination. . . . I believe he's reall.v trieC to ii-rrgrve nre . & I think he's a ]ittle jeaious oi Songs to Jt,annes-an uttexper:te.l ellect-''. The iast page ol the HV (I915) contains a noie to CVV irrdicatrng that "l-ovr Songs" (l-IV) rnay also have been written with an earliel lover in rnind: "M.v dear Cario thcse . . . are subconscious inrpression s oi' B ', eor.s u gt, . . . assoc iated rvith my weeping wiiiow man." This spe,:ulation ib supported bv irer indication elsewhere (CVVP) thar "Love Songs" (I-IV1 were iregun iIt a state o{ dysthenria ("the first were writtcn in red-hot agony"). Irr 1907, eight years bef<rre ML wrote this iettcr ttr CVV, she gave birth tt, her .econd chiid. Burke's biography iRecomin,g !,'loclern: The I'rfe oJ llinu Lo', [New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996]) contains impofartt infornration on Sll and the filiation of this child. Its patrilineage nrav explatn Ml.'s agorrv and disilh:sion vrith tlP.

lation has vet occtrrred that convincingiy deconstructs the anagram, homograph, or rune that stands behind the upper-case construction. -QHU" ma1' allude to an enchoric name ol retron]/m rhat was once familiar but has since passed {iom currency. lf so. perhaps some iuture reacier will one dav open the lettre de cachet and report its contents. Until then, it remains pure vocabie or snnant. a precali6us precursor of Lettrisme. We ,:an also imagine it as an unbr^ken cryptogram or enciphered message lo .ioannes or one of his representatives. In this case, we can onil' hope that GP graspe<l its esoteric meaning. It is al,"o possibie, more prosai cally. that QHU was a printer's error. the first half of an uncorrected etaoin shrdlu [sic]" or an ersatz euphemrsm designed to escape the censor's sevthe. This pre-digital encryption recentl,v attarned electronic status. In t995 "Qiltl" was posted as a query to the poetry ca!6 ofthe Internet community. As of nou'. QHIJ remains simpiy an unsolved metaplasrn. 'fhe virtual cai6 remains open to any latecomers bearing solrrtions:

XXVIII. 18: cvmophanousj cymophonous


readi'golthispoern Seeespe,riailylhervorko[Burke,LincraKennahan"KouiRecent ML schola.ship has greatlr.enhanceri both the tertual arrrl contextual dis" and Ra.hei Blau f)uPlessis cited in Januzzi,s bibiiography of ML in Mina Lcy: V'oman and Poet (\,lae^ra Schreiber and Keith 'l.uma. eds. [Orono, ME: Nalior.ral Poetry F ounrlation, I9961). The exchange t:ontinues in the nert issue (l/i ?:41. FIanit:t llorroe, rel'ieu'ing this anthologv in Poetrr (17:3 fi)er:ernber 1920. pp. ]5{)-1581) calls liill "an extreme otherist, as introcent ,rf arll innocerices as of cornnras. neriirds. st:ntences. A knorvirrg one. irut l'e u'oultl rather have sorne otlrer other's polislr our stars." Trverrty--fire iears iater. Kenncth Rexroth reprilrted this f)oern in lull in the second of his "recovery" essays on negler:tecl poets (Cirr:lr 1:4 l1!r4,4, pp tr9-721). Ml. had not Lreen publishetl anywhere for thirteen vears. anti he rvanter:l something done about it: "It is hard tc, sav u'h-r' she has been ignored. Perhaps it is due to her extrenre erceptionalism. Iirotic prictrv is usualll' lyric. Ftrers is


Corpses and Genittses



I f;. () HFll,L, ca. 1919. I'irst publishetl in (,on.tact i (Decemher I9ZO,p.7). Reprinted in l,B" u'ith ont' substantive changr:: "the clursts of a traditionl' reola<'':" "the tatters o{ traditicn'" (1. 7). 'fhe present text follo*,s the first published appeararcel *'hich in turn follo*.s the only surviving h,ls (ycAL) in altr substantives.


I hai'e marie one emencjlation lo the Contnct al)pearance: Caressl Carress

Editor.s tVote: \\'hen this poem was publishecl in Con.t"a.ct, eclited bv RM and S'C\\. it markcd ihe thirC tirne (follorving appearances tn Rogue and OrAers) that l\'lL's n-ork irad appeareri in the inaugural issue o{ an Arneri,:an magazine declic':rted 1p erperimental writing. t'ollowing the demise or others in 1919. E Cli' launched conta,:t in ortier to continue tire fight that AK's rnaga,zine had begun. \\ICW sought u,ork that coulci not be puhlisherl elsewhere, that was not deri'trtive, and that was not trving to appeal to good taste or win posthumous praise: "\!'e wish above all things to speak for the present." The first issue contained two contributions bv ML; ',0 Fleil', and a prose vignette i,.Summer Night in a Florenti'e slum").'lhe prose contribution is not inr:luderl in this edition (but nas reprinted in LLBB2). A var.iation of l. 6 (,.our person is a covered entrance to infinity") occunetl in ML,s pamphlet psycho-Democracy {Florence: Tipogra{ia Peri & Rossi, l9z0) as "'Selt'is the covered entrance to Infinity." 'l'his prcrse anslrer to FTN{'s W'ar, the World.'s On!."i. Hi-giene ant) renunciation of l''uturisnr's militarrt tenets rva-q later.reprintecl in The Little Reuiew 7 (..{uturnn l92l). pp. 1,1--i9. ca. 1919. NOMS. First published in OthersJbr 19t9: An Antlrclogy of the lteu, I,er-sa (\qr,v Yorir: Nicholas L. Brown. 1920, pp. 1.12114). 1'his text is based on the first published appearan{:e.

eiegiac and satirical. lt is usuallv fast-pace,l. IIers is -.low and cleliberatt,lr trvisting." Rexroth u'ent or) to obsene that she "has been singularlv isoiaterl historically, v,,ith lerv an(iestors ancl less influence." He narned HerontJas, Merrander. Lucretius, I-ucian, llarinrinian. Nlarston. f)or,ne, Jonsor,. and Rochester as possible precursors; he then listed Jack Wheelrvright, Laura Riding, Carl Rakosi, Louis Zukofskv. ancl t{anr' Roskolerrko as possible heirs. According to Rexroth, that was the complete genealogy of influence. At least, he concludecl, ''no others occur to nte."

tB. il{EXICAN DESIIRT, ca. l9l9-1920. Firsr publ;shed in ?fte Diat,iO: 6 ("lune 1921, p. 672).'lhere are two MSS of this poem at YtiAL.'l'his versiori ft,llorss the first publishild tert. rvhich in turn fcrllorv,* the [4SS in all substanti


17. 'lHE DUAD,

3:,*hrivabie] shrivvable

Editor's lVote: This poern is a collaged recoller:tion of ML's tralerse oi the parched Mericarr desert irr 19lU *'ith her second husbarrd. AC (nE Fahian Avenarir-rs Lloyd, lB87*/). It was also her first p{)em ro appear rn The L)iai., although her anti-Futurist play, 7'lre Parnperers" had inaugurated its ''Modeln F-orms" ser:tion the -vear beibre (69:1. .lulv i920, pp. 65-78). Some of Ml,'s irrtwork was also published in The Dia.l as T'to lVotercolours (70:4, i\pril 1921, rr.p.) ancl Babi's Head (72:2, Februarv 1922, n.p.). The Diul durirrg this period ivas nominally edited bv Scofielcl 'fhayer and Gilbert Seldes, hut Scofield's ,ro-owner, Siblev Watson, and his lcrreign editor. Ezra Pound, l'ere both rrurre eciitorialh irrfluential than Sekies. It is likely that Found directeci ML's first rvork to ?As Dia,l.Thaye, firsi rnet FIl, in New York. When he encountered her again in Vienna. he rer:ognizetl horv valuable her
knor.,,leclge of the conienrporary Fiuropean art scene couici be tti the development

30: O{ ol 43: Hasl has
A r,ea.r alier the appearance of AK's i9l9 anthoiogy. John Rodker 'Tote.' wrote an opinion piece in The Little Rerien 1:3 (pp. 53-56), r:onsisting largeiy of sarca-otic remarks about the writing of ihe "Others" group. Of ML's coniriEditor'.s

is painful tr:r notice that since the last .Others'she appears to have lost her grip." ML responcls thrrrst for thrust in the same issue. bution Rodker quipped.


of the "lnternational Art Portfolio," a project that was never 1ully realized but led to the publication oS Art (1923i. In a letter daterl March 5,7922, to Sibiey Watson, 'l'hayer relerreti to ML as his "assrstant" iri the porlfoiio project, therebv associating her with r>ne ol The llial's rnost arnbitious projects (Walter Sution. ecl.. Potntl, T'hayer, Vatson & T'he Diol:,{ Stor_i rrr l-etters [Gainesville:

University Pr"ss of Flori,la, 19941, o. 234). The Di,u,L was one of tlre ntost prominent literan' magazines ever publishetl


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