“Objectivists” 1927-1934 Introduction Contents

Notes - Introduction

1 Robert Creeley, “Robert Creeley in Conversation with Charles Tomlinson,” in Contexts of Poetry: Interviews 1961-1971 (Bolinas, CA: Four Seasons Foundation, 1973), p. 14.

2 Poetry, 37, 5 (February 1931), 237-295.

3 George Oppen, “The Mind’s Own Place,” Montemora, 4 (1978), 134. First published in Kulchur, 10 (1963).

4 Letter received from Donald Davie, 9 November 1979. See Donald Davie, “English and American in Briggflatts,” in The Poet in the Imaginary Museum; Essays of Two Decades, ed. Barry Alpert (New York: Persea Books, 1977), pp. 285-292. Hugh Kenner is one who commits this patriotic error; see A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975), pp. 168, 185.

5 “Notes on Contributors,” Westminster Magazine, 23, 1 (Spring 1934), 8, for the serial publication of The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire.

6 “Prides and Prejudices,” Westminster Magazine, 22, 4 (Winter 1933), 6.

7 See Ezra Pound, Letter to Harriet Monroe, 26 September 1930, Poetry Papers, 1912-1936, Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library, box 38, folder 5.

8 Pound, Letter to Monroe, 24 October 1930, Selected Letters 1907-1941, ed. D. D. Paige (New York: New Directions, 1971), p. 228, No. 243.

9 Celia Zukofsky claimed that Louis would not have bothered to talk with me, since I was interested also in the other “Objectivists.” Personal interview with Celia Zukofsky, 8 June 1979, Port Jefferson, NY.

10 L. S. Dembo, ed., Contemporary Literature, 10, 2 (Spring 1969), 203. Also in L. S. Dembo and Cyrena N. Pondrom, eds., The Contemporary Writer (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1972), p. 216.

11 William Carlos Williams, “French Painting,” in The Embodiment of Knowledge, ed. Ron Loewinsohn (New York: New Directions, 1974), p. 24.

12 Of the forty-five writers associated with “Objectivist” publications, thirty-two were published in the “Objectivists” issue of Poetry and in An “Objectivists” Anthology. Seventeen were included in the issue only: Emanuel Carnevali, Whittaker Chambers, Martha Champion, Charles Henri Ford, S. Theodore Hecht, Ernest Hemingway, Joyce Hopkins (actually a pseudonym for a collaboration by Zukofsky and his friend Roger Kaigh), Richard Johns, Jesse Loewenthal, Norman Macleod, Samuel Putnam, Harry Roskolenkier, René Taupin, Parker Tyler, Howard Weeks, John Wheelwright, and Henry Zolinsky. Eight were included in both the issue and the anthology: Basil Bunting, Robert McAlmon, George Oppen, Carl Rakosi, Kenneth Rexroth, Charles Reznikoff, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky. And seven were included in the anthology only: Forrest Anderson, Mary Butts, T. S. Eliot, Frances Fletcher, Ezra Pound, Jerry Reisman, and R. B. N. Warriston. In addition, Zukofsky named nine who could not be published with the others for lack of space: John W. Gassner, Horace Gregory, B. J. Israel, William Lubov, Donal McKenzie, Helene Magaret, Sherry Mangan, Herman Specter, and Christie Streeter (“Notes,” Poetry, 37, 5 [February 1931], 295, and “Acknowledgments,” An “0bjectivists” Anthology [France, 1932; rpt. Folcroft Library Editions, 1975], p. 209), and three who practiced the principles stated in his “Program: ‘Objectivists’ 1931”: E. E. Cummings, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens. Finally, there is at least one writer who has been called an “Objectivist,” Lorine Niedecker, an early disciple of Zukofsky, who was neither published nor mentioned in any “Objectivist” publication.

13 Louis Zukofsky, “‘Recencies’ in Poetry,” An “Objectivists” Anthology, p. 9. See also Poetry, 38, 1 (April 1931), 57.

14 William F. O’Neill, With Charity Toward None: An Analysis of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy (New York: Philosophical Library, 1971), pp. 197, 224. Rand’s “materialization of value” is similar to but narrower than the “Objectivist” restoration of meanings to the things in which they inhere. “Values,” for Rand, according to O’Neill, “are invariably realized through objects and are expressed in terms of the power over, and control of, things. . . . ‘Property rights’ are ultimately synonymous with ‘human rights’ . . . All value (property) is caused by labor (defined as rational productive action applied to the acquisition of, or control over, property.)” Values for the “Objectivist,” however, are expressed in terms of inherent relations between all things perceived and apperceived, not in manipulation of materialistic things, and so human rights are not restricted to property rights. Although the beliefs of both stem from Marx’s labor theory of value, an “Objectivist” would not agree with Rand that since virtue is signified by control over property the poor are depraved; one might labor and not achieve control over the products of one’s labor. Zukofsky applied Marx’s theory to any creative act; a poem has value for anyone who reads it not only according to the effort spent in reading it but also to the effort the author invested in its creation.

15 Basil Bunting, Preface, Collected Poems (London: Fulcrum Press, 1968), p. 9. Bunting also credits Eliot and Williams in Multi: Basil Bunting from the British Press (Berkeley: An Octaroon Book, 25 April 1976), back page.

16 Garth Clucas, “Basil Bunting: A Chronology,” Poetry Information: Basil Bunting Special Issue, 19 (Autumn 1978), 70.

17 Zukofsky wrote Pound on 25 April 1931 that his poem “Prop. LXI” explicitly contradicted the program of the “Objectivists” issue. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; location hereafter cited as Yale. Pound/Zukofsky, p. 97, No. 38.

18 Pound, “A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste,” Poetry, 1, 6 (March 1913), 201. Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, ed. T. S. Eliot (New York New Directions, 1935, 1968), p. 4.