Zukofsky, Louis

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ZUKOFSKY, LOUIS (1904–1978), U.S. poet and critic. Zukofsky was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to poor immigrants parents, who struggled to provide for his education at Columbia University. He taught English at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute from 1947 to 1962. His early poems attracted the attention of William Carlos Williams who befriended him. He published various critical articles on Pound's Cantos and continued an active but obscure literary life until All the Collected Short Poems, 19231958, appeared in 1965. A second volume with the same title (poems written in 1956–64) followed in 1966. In 1968 an entire issue of Poetry magazine was devoted to him. In 1970 he published a novel Little and his poem A-24 in 1972. His A, a poem in 24 sections, was published posthumously by the University of California Press. Zukofsky's other works include A Test of Poetry (1948), Bottom: On Shakespeare (1963), and Prepositions (1967), collected criticism. His Collected Fiction was published in 1990, and his Complete Short Poetry, in 1991.

The critic Guy Davenport had described him as "one of the three most distinguished living American poets", ranking him with Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound.

In 1976 he received an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1977 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bard College.

add. bibliography:

B. Comens, Apocalypse and After: Modern Strategy and Postmodern Tactics in Pound, Williams, and Zukofsky (1995); M. Scroggins, Louis Zukofsky and the Poetry of Knowledge (1998); idem (ed.), Upper Limit Music: The Writing of Louis Zukofsky (1997); S. Stanle, Louis Zukofsky and the Transformation of a Modern American Poetics (1994).