The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy

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Overview

There was a time when it was common to couple Mina Loy's name with that of W. C. Williams or Marianne Moore: her advanced contemporaries considered her a literary and artistic genius - a descendant of Sappho by way of Emily Dickinson. But the public was scandalized by her work, and some critics openly scorned it. Not only were her Futurist-inspired techniques unlike anything most readers had encountered before, but her subjects - procreation, parturition, prostitution, suicide, addiction, retardation - were ...
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Overview

There was a time when it was common to couple Mina Loy's name with that of W. C. Williams or Marianne Moore: her advanced contemporaries considered her a literary and artistic genius - a descendant of Sappho by way of Emily Dickinson. But the public was scandalized by her work, and some critics openly scorned it. Not only were her Futurist-inspired techniques unlike anything most readers had encountered before, but her subjects - procreation, parturition, prostitution, suicide, addiction, retardation - were considered shocking even by some modernists. Mina Loy vanished from the literary scene just as dramatically as she arrived on it, and for most of the century her bold experiments have remained a well-kept secret. But in recent years Loy's work has been discovered by a new generation of poets and critics, and has begun to surface in revisionist anthologies. What has been needed is a reliable text of the essential Loy poems. To assemble The Lost Lunar Baedeker, Roger Conover has rescued Loy's poems and prose works from the Dada magazines and other ephemeral publications where they first appeared. All of Loy's notorious Futurist and feminist satires are included, as are many poems from her Paris and New York periods, the complete cycle of "Love Songs," and several previously unknown texts. Detailed notes accompany the text.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mina Loy's wry, confident inquiries into the nature of men, women and sexuality are a great undiscovered treasure of modernism. Though her work was published beside Eliot's and Pound's in the little magazines of the 1910s and 20s, we are perhaps only now, in the post-feminist '90s, fully equipped to handle it. Through both her work and her transcontinental, bon vivant lifestyle, Loy (1882-1966) defined the "modern" woman, a detached, unsentimental, brutally witty creature who called it as she saw it: "The skin sack/ in which a wanton duality/ packed/ all the completion of my infructious impulses/ something the shape of a man." Her cool ironies, heady carnality and innovative line placement blew away the remnants of Victorianism that clung to poetry, clearing the way for more up-front, if still unresolvable, relations between the sexes: "Let them clash together/ From their incognitoes/ In seismic orgasm." While the extensive textual notes included by Conover, an editor at MIT Press, may seem excessive (one wishes for more of the poetry), his selection also allows the cerebral Loy to emerge as a sophisticated critic-in-verse of contemporaries Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein and others. (July) FYI: FSG will concurrently publish the first full-scale biography of Loy, Becoming Modern (Forecasts, May 6). A fictionalized treatment of Loy's life can be found in Albert J. Guerard's novel The Hotel in the Jungle (Baskerville, Forecasts, Apr. 15).
Library Journal
A collected edition of Loy's (1882-1966) elusive and neglected work has long been overdue. Conover provides a useful scholarly text (with 60 pages of editorial notes) that brings the bohemian cult figure of the 1920s out of obscurity into the mainstream of 20th-century poetry. Born in England, Loy became famous in America as a celebrity associated with avant-garde movements like Futurism. She has been denied serious critical consideration, her work regarded as satire of conventional moralityan angry Edna St. Vincent Millay. With this comprehensive edition, one sees clearly that Loy's bold, original workbrief as it isrepresents a gutsy, creative quest by an unusual woman to challenge biases that limit how a writer can define herself. Conover views her as a pioneer who paved the way for the likes of Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Adrienne Rich, and Ann Waldman. Recommended for large libraries.Frank Allen, North Hampton Community Coll., Tannersville, Pa
Booknews
A collection of 18 articles originally published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. They show how conceptions of the political have been revised by the perspective of gender, reexamining basic issues of citizenship, collective action, political resistance, and the state. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374258726
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.65 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
"There is no Life or Death" 3
Parturition 4
Italian Pictures 9
Three Moments in Paris 15
Sketch of a Man on a Platform 19
Virgin Plus Curtains Minus Dots 21
Babies in Hospital 24
Giovanni Franchi 27
At the Door of the House 33
The Effectual Marriage 36
Human Cylinders 40
The Black Virginity 42
Ignoramus 44
Lions' Jaws 46
Songs to Joannes 53
O Hell 71
The Dead 72
Mexican Desert 74
Perlun 75
Poe 76
Apology of Genius 77
Brancusi's Golden Bird 79
Lunar Baedeker 81
Der Blinde Junge 83
Crab-Angel 85
Joyce's Ulysses 88
"The Starry Sky" of Wyndham Lewis 91
Marble 93
Gertrude Stein 94
The Widow's Jazz 95
Lady Laura in Bohemia 98
The Mediterranean Sea 101
Nancy Cunard 103
Jules Pascin 104
On Third Avenue 109
Mass-Production on 14th Street 111
Idiot Child on a Fire-Escape 114
Aid of the Madonna 115
Ephemerid 116
Chiffon Velours 119
Property of Pigeons 120
Photo After Pogrom 122
Time-Bomb 123
Omen of Victory 124
Film-Face 125
Faun Fare 126
Letters of the Unliving 129
Hot Cross Bum 133
An Aged Woman 145
Moreover, the Moon--- 146
Aphorisms on Futurism 149
Feminist Manifesto 153
Modern Poetry 157
Preceptors of Childhood 162
Auto-Facial-Construction 165
App. Editorial Guidelines and Considerations 169
App. Notes on the Text 175
App. Three Early Poems 219
App. "Love Songs" (1923) 224
App. Other Writings 230
App. Tables of Contents 233
Acknowledgments 235
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lunar Baedeker lost & found & lost again

    How do I love this book? Let me try to count the ways. 1, the titles which seduce the attention, eg 'Lost Lunar Baedeker', 'Virgins Plus Curtains Minus Dots', 'Human Cylinders', 'Moreover, the Moon--'...2, the irresistible unpredictably opulent succulent startling mixtures of words (eg 'orgies of orchid', 'chandelier souls of infusoria from Pharoah's tombstones', 'ginfizz eucharist', 'retinal altar') whose dazzling textures I want to slowly taste forever in my mouth or else wear on my wrist as a queer bracelet. 3, the felt bodily presence of she who wrote these poems, who wove these textures queer, who mixed such heady word-chemicals; her flesh permeated with Genius which knows pain &pleasure on every possible scale. 4, the neologisms, 'Stellectric', 'eye-white', & the obscure diction, 'footle', 'Agamogenesis', through which She aeshteticises the new & the 'exotic.' 5, the opening lines of each poem. ++MY FAVOURITES++ A silver Lucifer serves cocaine in cornucopia...Though you had never possessed me I had belonged to you since the beginning of time...Surreptitious fanfare of unadams amingle with ouradams...So this is death...the monstrous sapphire lies in her lavish dowry...Trained in a circus of swans she proceeds receedingly...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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