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Upper Limit Music, Upper Limit Music, 0817308261, 0-8173-0826-1, 978-0-8173-0826-1, 9780817308261,

Upper Limit Music
The Writing of Louis Zukofsky
Edited by Mark Scroggins

Quality Paper
1997. 304 pp.
978-0-8173-0826-1
Price:  $34.95 s

Scroggins provides a provocative and advanced introduction to the
thought and writing of Louis Zukofsky, aptly described as one of the "first
postmodernists."

Poet, translator, and editor, Louis Zukofsky was born in New York City
in 1904. Raised to speak first Yiddish and then English, he was fascinated
by language from an early age. This deep preoccupation with language--its
musicality, complex constructions, and fluid meaning--later became a key
component in the development of his poetry. Friend to William Carlos Williams,
Marianne Moore, and Ezra Pound, mentor to Robert Creeley and influence
on many of the Language Movement poets, Zukofsky and his work stand squarely
at the center of American poetry's transition from modernism to postmodernism.

Mark Scroggins advances thoughtful readings of Zukofsky's key critical
essays, a wide variety of his shorter poems, and his "poem of a life", "A". He carefully situates Zukofsky within his literary and historical
contexts, examining his relationship to Pound, his 1930s Marxist politics,
and his sense of himself as a Jewish modernist poet. Scroggins also places
Zukofsky within an ongoing tradition of American poetry, including the
work of Wallace Stevens, Charles Bernstein, Ronald Johnson, Michael Palmer,
and John Taggart.


Mark Scroggins is a poet, biographer, and literary critic. His graduate degrees in creative writing and literature were from Cornell University. He is the author of Louis Zukofsky and the Poetry of Knowledge (U of Alabama P, 1998) and The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007). He has edited Upper Limit Music: The Writing of Louis Zukofsky (U of Alabama P, 1997) and a selection of uncollected prose for Prepositions+: The Collected Critical Essays of Louis Zukofsky (Wesleyan UP, 2000). His first full-length collection of poems, Anarchy, appeared in 2003. He has served as editor of Epoch magazine and the Diaeresis Chapbook Series of new poetry, and has an ongoing interest in poets whose writing reflects an active reconception of the modernist and late modernist tradition in verse and prose.

He has published poetry and poetry reviews in a wide range of venues, including the journals Epoch, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, African American Review, To, American Letters & Commentary; and Facture, as well as the anthology The Gertrude Stein Awards In Innovative American Poetry. His critical essays and reviews have appeared in among other places West Coast Line, Shofar, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Sagetrieb, and The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Poetry.


"Scroggins's argument for the importance of Louis Zukofsky's antiepistemologicalpoetics in the 20th century is fundamentally exact and very often brilliant.Hugh Kenner has said that the critics would be elucidating Zukofsky's hermetictexts well into the 22nd century. Scroggins is the critic most capableof ushering our appreciation of Zukofsky into the 21st century."
—Joseph M. Conte, SUNY-Buffalo

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