Friday, February 27, 2015 AdarI 8, 5775
A poet creates a sound -- a vision, really -- of his own making
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Louis Zukofsky has been called the most influential poet you've never heard of. Much like his fellow Objectivist, Charles Reznikoff, whom I wrote about several weeks ago, he toiled in almost complete obscurity, unknown to readers and critics alike, though during his lifetime, he and his work were beloved by many other poets. These days, however, he's been getting some...
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A poet seems simple, but his depth is undeniable
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Charles Reznikoff's poetry has a mystery about it unlike anyone else's. He was, determinedly, a Modernist, but if you were to compare him to T.S. Eliot or Ezra Pound -- two of the undisputed Modernist masters, at least of the American canon -- his language and imagery would seem simple, uncluttered, clear-cut, not in the least obfuscatory. He is not...
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It's quite remarkable how a single book can take a writer's career and transform it, giving it a whole new tenor that somewhat obscures, if not obliterates, much of what came before. Take John Updike's novel Couples, for example. Literary gossip has it that at a party one night the late Norman Mailer, in his inimitable cheery manner, cornered Updike...
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Earlier this year, I wrote a piece about Thomas Eakins -- the occasion was the appearance of a fine new biography by William S. McFeely -- and I described him as the greatest painter this city ever produced, as well as one of many artists that our fair metropolis also saw fit to abuse (in saying this, I was thinking...
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You hear about Jewish influence in all of the arts, to say nothing of other areas of expertise; and, though you sometimes think of it as a pleasant exaggeration -- when it's not being posited as a subtle slur -- you can still run across evidence of such influence, and be amazed at just how far and wide and deep...
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