Louis Zukofsky and Lorine Niedecker
Chapter 1 is a study of Louis Zukofsky, Lorine Niedecker, and Surrealism. It discovers that Zukofsky based his poems ‘Mantis’ and ‘Mantis’: An Interpretation on an obscure text regarding the praying mantis written by the surrealist Robert Caillois. It discusses the surrealist interest in the figure of the praying mantis, and then argues that Lorine Niedecker’s triptych poems “CANVASS” and “Three Poems” cryptically refer to the surrealist praying mantis, and in particular to Salvador Dali’s writing and painting from the early 1930’s. Zukofsky’s objectivist and anti-allegorical poems may then be read as a response to Niedecker’s surrealist and allegorical pieces. The chapter demonstrates a generative tension in the poetics of 1930’s.
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