prepared by Jenifer Wolkowski, last updated 15 January 1998, respond to me via e-mail
There has been a recent explosion of interest in Modern poet Mina Loy (1882-1966). Her "forgotten" poems were published in 1996 in the collection, The Lost Lunar Baedeker, a biography has recently been published, and no fewer than two book-length criticisms are at press as this site is being constructed.
In 1921 Ezra Pound wrote to Marianne Moore: " [...] is there anyone in America except you, Bill [William Carlos Williams] and Mina Loy who can write anything of interest in verse?" But Mina Loy has, until recently, not been mentioned in the same breath with luminaries like Ezra Pound or William Carlos Williams. She has been read by recent scholars as a lost literary jewel. There were and are hurdles in studying Mina Loy. Her politics were hazy; her poetry was inconsistent in value and message; through linguistic choices she was extraordinarily difficult to read and remains so.
There are times, however, when Loy's poetry becomes both luminous and dense, where modernism becomes Modernism. To elucidate her as a person and poet through the postmodern medium of a webpage may indeed have delighted her. Her art survives her and is freshly anthologized. She may have been caught up in the trend of expanding the canon, but she has become more than modern, more than postmodern; she has become an artist unencumbered by historical alliances or salon affiliations.
Virginia Kouidis deserves a great deal of credit in keeping Mina Loy alive in academe. Her 1980 text started the academic Loy canon and I am much indebted to her work. I would like to thank Carolyn Burke for Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy. All of the biographical information on this site and the photographs of Loy come directly from Burke's text. I would also like to thank Susan Dunn who has made a wealth of Mina Loy information available on the World Wide Web. Links to sites concerning Burke and Dunn and their scholarship are available on the links page.
Poetry is a process of identity, inspiration, knowledge, and creation. With that in mind, this site attempts to bring you through an interactive experience.
Meet Mina Loy.
View photographs of the writer in various states, from holding a sculpture by Auguste Rodin to posing wearing Man Ray's developing room thermometer.
View art and images that Loy had suffusing her environment and influencing her art, among them: stained glass, reflective objects, the moon, celestial maps, the Bible, Futurist art, and Dadaist art.
Read Loy's poem "Apology of Genius."
Of this, the second poem in Lunar Baedecker, Yvor Winters wrote it resembled "a stone idol become animate" and of the collection, "he concluded, '[Loy] moves like one walking through granite instead of air'" (Burke 323).
See a manuscript version of one of Loy's most controversial poems.
The "Love Poems" series began as "an analysis of [Loy's] 'utter defeat in the sex war'" and she told Carl Van Vechten that the poems were "rather pretty -- rather mawkish -- probably a little indecent" (Burke 185).
Read a paper on Loy.
From "The Truth Is Out There: Mina Loy's Lunar Odyssey" . . .
"The unified collection, Lunar Baedecker, is both the travel guide and the journey itself, with an intrinsic structure that builds upon itself into a modernist vision of the whole greater than the sum of its parts, something that is a statement on how the Moderns lived, suffered, and healed. It is an In Our Time without prose, where "The Big Two-Hearted River" exists, but differently, where Nick Adams lives, but as a woman. Through her Baedecker poems, Loy reveals herself to be a traveler with her sights affixed on a modern journey, concerned with space, place, time, and all the trappings of a modern artist: pain, loss, journey, redemption, faith, self, identity, art, and gender. Armed with her own Baedecker, here perhaps prophetically misspelled, as if to distance her work -- with irony -- from the original Baedeker, Loy is prepared to narrate her modern odyssey. It is an odyssey tempered by the futurist loves of cleanliness, anger, and speed; molded with modernist musings of identity and the possibility of God."
Through this page, you can link to the entire, unexpurgated text of Mina Loy's Lunar Baedecker, available for the first time since 1923.
Visit a links page with an annotated bibliography.
Get ready to surf the World Wide Web and visit Loy-related material in cyberspace.