Feb 15, 2008

Mina Loy

Quick Note:

This week, poets.org put up a short overview of the early 20th century American poet Mina Loy. If you are interested in the study of Yvor Winters, you will want to check out this short article and read the two poems that poets.org has on its web site by this very obscure poet. Loy was a writer of a very dense, abstract, non-syntactical short-line free verse that Winters thought very highly of. Two of her poems (neither of which can be found on the web, so far as I know) made it into the Winters Canon, as published in the anthology Quest for Reality.

Winters judged Mina Loy's poetry highly even from his earliest days. He mentioned her in a letter written when he was 19 years old. He first wrote at length of her work far back in 1927, which was the time when he was beginning to change his literary direction from free-verse imagism to modern "formalist" classicism. To the puzzlement of many, he thought Loy had achieved some of the finest work in the modernist movement. He listed her work among all the other modernist poets who remain so well known, Pound, Eliot, W.C. Williams, Stevens, and the rest. Notably, Donald Stanford also considered Loy a fine imagist poet, though he judged her work to be as minor as Pound's and Eliot's. It will take some time to get to Mina Loy's poetry in my reconsideration of the Winters Canon, but some day we shall get there. I will probably take a look at Donald Stanford's judgments of her at that time as well.

I am highly interested in whether any of my readers have been reading Mina Loy and what they have discovered in reading her. Please write with any comments on her work.


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