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Would you care to read Mina Loy's Lunar Baedecker ?

Professor Marling
Modern Poetry
15 January 1998
J. Wolkowski

The Truth Is Out There: Mina Loy's Lunar Odyssey

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

-- Oscar Wilde

Mina Loy's work was rediscovered by scholar Virginia Kouidis during the wave of feminist revisionism in the late 1970s. Since then, the majority of presentations, interpretations, and scholarly articles regarding her poetry have been influenced by political agendas. The current Loy scholars, most notably Susan Elizabeth Dunn, have begun to analyze Loy's attachments to both feminism and futurism through close, though often politically-affiliated, readings of individual poems. For the most part, that is where Loy criticism remains: torn between the two lovers of Feminism and Futurism and myopically cathechted onto singular pieces.

When critics attempt to formalize their interpretations, or link Loy's writing to something other than the feminine sphere, the politic nevertheless rears its head. Although scholars like Dunn have been valiant in their attempts to make Mina Loy something other than a forgotten and reanimated feminist ranger, these flavors nevertheless permeate. Her 1995 doctoral dissertation, "Opposed Aesthetics: Mina Loy, Modernism, and the Avant-Garde" (University of Wisconsin-Madison), explains the relationship between Loy and the futurists, but with a largely feminist angle of attack: "Loy and Futurism were never an easy match. Futurism celebrated industry and machines, and by implication it celebrated capitalism, consumption, and production. [... Loy's] futurist writings explore the connection between industry and sexuality" (53). Futurism, a movement in which Loy was involved from roughly 1913 until 1916, provided questions for Loy to answer, a stance from which nothing she could say or do would seem revolutionary in comparison with the camp that declared war "the world's only hygiene." Futurism's aesthetic concerns -- "dynamism, movement, and change" (57) -- were not limited to linguistic and intellectual aggression, however. This socio-politico-artistic movement flew in the face of Loy's formal art education, and perhaps reached a critical mass of sorts when F. T. Marinetti published "We Abjure Our Symbolist Masters, the Last Lovers of the Moon" during their affair (80). Her reappropriation and complication of the image (if you would like to see some of her moon-inspired artwork, please click here), idea, and symbolism of the moon were to, in many ways, form the backbone of her work.

Loy published just twice in her lifetime, in 1923 and 1958, thus placing her chronologically within the Modernist movement. The mixture of futurism and modernism was very much an issue in Loy's life and work. While no one has argued that Loy was not a modernist, many see her as astride the line between late Victorianism and early high Modernism. The first to do so was Kouidis, who stated:

Into poems of personal honesty and daring technical experiment [Loy] channeled a hard-won knowledge of self and world that had transformed a Victorian lady into a modern woman and poet whose best poetry ranks her with the leading American modernists. (1)

This "ranking" of Loy among the "leading American modernists" was not an obvious statement in 1980, nor is it now, but the full impact of Loy's work was appreciated in its time. Ezra Pound created a term for her poetry in 1917:

Until now, Pound had successfully divided poetry into two classes: melopoeia, or poetry that moves by music; and phanopoeia, poetry that depends on image. Now he was forced to revise his taxonomy to accommodate a new utterance, and to do so he coined a third term, logopoeia: "poetry that is akin to nothing but language, which is a dance of the intelligence among words and ideas and modification of ideas and characters. [...] In [the verses] of Mina Loy I detect no emotion whatever." (Conover Last xxxvii)

This overwhelming intelligence is what makes Loy difficult to this day and in her time. She wove poems which honored new gods with an old tongue; her language is often antiquated or Anglo Saxon. Her wit and sense of irony permeate most of her poems and she had a sharp and enduring appreciation for intimation. As her most ardent editor, Roger Conover, explains: "[Loy] implied everything -- including sex -- through intellect" (Last xxxi).

Two modern collections that have received exhaustive critical focus, William Carlos Williams's Spring and All and Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time, were published the same year and by the same publisher as Lunar Baedecker (sic)1 (Dunn 11). Williams's and Hemingway's works are much more than mere collections of poetry and prose. They create a direction for the modern work and they address trademark modern issues of pain, loss, journey, redemption, faith, self, identity, and gender. Loy's work, however, has never had the benefit of their enduring, popular accessibility: the entire text of Lunar Baedecker, her 1923 opus, appeared in print once. When originally published it contained just seventeen poems. Since then, Loy's vision has been in the hands of editors, and much like the challenges that faced T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, current publishers do not see the profit in or feasibility of issuing a twenty page "book." Only selected poems from Lunar Baedecker appeared in the 1958 publication of Lunar Baedeker and Time-Tables. The Last Lunar Baedeker (1982) reorganizes Loy's poems into questionable categories2 and The Lost Lunar Baedeker (1996) neither contains all the Baedecker poems, nor does it adhere to the original order. This has been done to more richly and completely display Loy's poetic gems, no doubt, but the cost has been high, for few people have had the opportunity to see Loy's Lunar Baedecker in its original formation. This issue of problematic accessibility is now rectified. Would you care to read like to read the entire original text of Mina Loy's Lunar Baedecker ?

There is no explicit evidence to assert that Loy thought of the original Lunar Baedecker as an ordered whole, but context may be more compelling. The art scene in which she was involved at the turn of the century exposed her to the Dodge Salon. Through Mabel Dodge and her extensive chain of friends and associates, Loy befriended Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce, all of whom wrote works that displayed a difficult and often hidden internal unity (Three Lives, Tender Buttons; Hugh Selwyn Mauberly; Dubliners). By 1914, Loy was in Italy, involved aesthetically and philosophically with futurism, and romantically involved with its two chief proponents, Filippo T. Marinetti and Giovanni Papini, but through her involvement in the art world and its salon affiliations, she had been and continued to be exposed to the revolutionary modern literature of the time. The rumblings of a modern artistic revolution were growing louder, and Loy joined in the ranks. During the next eight years, she was to reside in Italy, New York, Mexico, South America, and Germany, meet the singular love of her life, lose him in a tragic mystery, give birth to their daughter, survive a World War, and write the poems that would create Lunar Baedecker (Burke 164-320).

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.

Loy began her vision with a strange, outdated title, harkening back to the Victorian-era traveler's guidebook that bore Karl Baedeker's (1801-1859) name. Perhaps the identity politics that stormed inside Loy -- her Victorian upbringing versus her Modern life -- manifested themselves in this title, a combination of the old and the new. Consistency and familiarity were the traditional Baedeker -ian trademarks. Each Baedeker began with the same quotation from Chaucer:

Go, little book, God send thee good passage,
And specially let this be thy prayere,
Unto them all that thee will read or hear,
Where thou art wrong, after their help to call,
Thee to correct in any part or all.

It is both an apology for and a disclaimer of possible error, revealing a desire to keep acquiring knowledge about a destination. Every Baedeker preface consisted of the brief introduction to the particular volume, the "Maps and Plans," "Time Tables," "Distances," and "Hotels." In the Preface, subjectivity is clear: "The Handbook has been compiled almost entirely from the personal observation of the Editor [...]." This announcement never changed from Baedeker to Baedeker; it is the same utterance in the earliest and most recent volumes. Another consistency is in the self-proclaimed raison d'être of the Baedeker itself: the Handbooks were "designed to assist the traveller in planning his tour and disposing of his time to the best advantage [...]."

Along with practical information provided to the traveler (e.g., the declaration of the nature of hand-baggage), the Baedeker also left little room for any judgment on the part of the traveler/reader. The editor is firmly and rightfully at the helm. Visiting Paris in 1894 and using a that year's "Paris and its Environs" Baedeker? Travel to Boulogne-sur-Mer is out of the question as "the majority of visitors to Paris will find comparatively little to interest them in the provinces of Northern France" (xxvi). Lest the traveler feel ill-equipped to handle the aesthetics of the nation, thoughtfully included is a twelve page comprehensive lecture on French Art. If the traveler finds himself without comment when faced with the awesome Eiffel Tower, he need only read aloud from the page 272: "This enormous structure is the loftiest monument in the world, attaining a height of 984 feet [...]. At the same time it is an interesting specimen of bold and accurate skill in design and of the marvellous scientific precision of modern engineering." The traveler's tastes and destinations are preordained: we are directed to the "most striking features" of certain architecture (334), and away from those neighborhoods which have fallen from grace: the Quartier du Marais, "once a fashionable quarter with several still handsome mansions, it is now quite given over to trade and manufactures" (209). All decisions are in the hands of the editor, and the Baedeker itself -- the 1894 Paris volume numbering 375 pages -- offers little opportunity for discovery on or of one's own.

Carolyn Burke, Loy scholar and biographer, offers her own analysis of Loy's title:

The title [of Loy's collection] evoked the old-fashioned, opinionated, and reliable Baedeker, the handbook familiar to all European travelers. Whatever country it described, Baedeker's reassuring format -- red cloth jacket, marbled edges, cream pages, and elegant maps -- implied that one was in good hands: its authoritative tone lulled the traveler into accepting the author's tastes and prejudices. (321)

In a sense, part of the editorial authority of the Baedeker experience was a reaffirmation of the self: I am a visitor here; I am in a position to see the Other; I am in control of my movement and understand the scope of my power. Every page of the Baedeker reasserted the traveler's status as traveler. Comprehensive and explicit, the Baedeker had a solution for every problem and a route to every destination. The small volume, with gilded letters and peacock-inked edges, visually and contextually calls to mind a Bible: sturdy, instructive, dependable. Loy's Baedecker questioned all of this unquestioned dependability, from her first poem, the collection's namesake, to the last, "Parturition." It was to the moon, beyond all human aspiration and yearning; a travel guide for a modern journey few were prepared to take. Mina Loy would narrate and attempt to comprehend this dangerous and intriguing excursion.

There are seventeen poems in Lunar Baedecker; four are in praise of other artists influential on Loy: James Joyce, Edgar Allen Poe, Constantin Brancusi, and Wyndham Lewis. Traditional and telltale modernist themes such as alienation, death, the role of the artist, desire for movement, love, meaning, and God are all present, as are, to a lesser degree, themes of Futurism (movement, revolt, speed), and Feminism (love, relationships, roles of women, motherhood). The readings here are not meant to be exhaustive, close analyses, but to bring to light the particular Modernist themes that pervade Loy's work, as exemplified by a selection of her finest poems. These concerns have been overshadowed in the past by feminist readings and purely aesthetic interpretations that emphasize Loy's questionable relationship with futurism. A paper this length could closely read only one or two poems if chosen from Loy's richest and most dense. The emphasis here is on the internal links, intrinsic themes, and composed entirety of Lunar Baedecker.

Lunar Baedecker consists of two distinct parts in a surprising order. The first eleven poems were from Loy's 1921-1922 period and the second half from her 1914-1915 period. The fact that Loy's arrangement of the poems is in reverse chronological order makes it conspicuous. This is neither a "best of" compilation nor a retrospective. It is a carefully constructed whole, unfortunately appearing as a whole only once: its original publication in 1923. If Lunar Baedecker is seen as two distinct parts (the first eleven poems from Loy's 1921-1922 period and the second part -- six poems -- from her 1914-1915 period) forming a unified whole, the first part can be read as an assertion of Loy as Modern artist, offering laudatory pieces to her artistic inspirations, but with a firm idea of her own abilities and visions. As Burke states:

Mina was also expressing her own ideas about modernism. Its intent, she wrote [in 1922], was "to track intellection back to the embryo," to try to know "what would we know about anything" when seeing it for the first time. The attainment of such knowledge had long been the goal of religion, she believed, but given "the bankruptcy of mysticism," the search "had developed upon abstract art." Modernism was both a way of treating subject matter and a philosophy -- "a prophet crying in the wilderness of stabilized culture that humanity is wasting its aesthetic time." (319)

"Lunar Baedeker," the first poem in the collection, begins with a distanced activity of observation: "A silver Lucifer/serves/cocaine in cornucopia" (Loy 1)3. There is an invocation of stasis, with "somnambulists" as the main characters, but there also exists, with a degree of tension, a circular movement: "mercurial doomsdays" and blinding lights exist, but with "cyclones" of "dust/and ashes" floating away to "browse on Necropolis."

There is a perfect blending of the visual and the semantic which some may call nonsensical. Draperies are "satirical," avenues "delirious," and streetlights are shining souls from "infusoria" (like parameciums -- minute, microscopic organisms that move by vibrating their filaments, but here their filaments become of the light-producing sort). This is Loy's trademark: the profusion of sensory input -- with a strong emphasis on the visual -- and a strange concatenation of words that somehow, nevertheless, capture the instant. Yet, this is both synaesthetic and syntactically off-putting. Synaesthesia as a poetic device -- "the term denoting the perception, or description of the perception, of one sense modality in terms of another" -- was popularized in the nineteenth century by Baudelaire's Correspondances (1857) and Rimbaud's Voyelles (1871) (Engstrom 276), and Loy was formally educated enough to have read both and understood their import. Additionally, her loyalty to rich, visual description was a vestige of her fine arts training at London's St. John's Wood School, where the emphasis was upon "British Pre-Raphaelite Symbolism and Parisian Post-Impressionism" (Dunn 54).

Location and placedness exist in "Lunar Baedeker," but they are ineluctably linked with loss. Death is inevitable as well: " 'Immortality'/ mildews/in the museums of the moon." The moon itself is a "fossil virgin," but has a modicum of agency as she "waxes and wanes." The image of the moon: female, alone, above and observing, beautiful, mysterious, quiet, aloof, acts as a leitmotif for the entire collection, perhaps a personification of Loy herself.

"Apology of Genius" (2), the second poem, highlights Loy's feeling as the outsider, still distanced and observing, stigmatized, and misunderstood. In a creative trope, Loy makes the reader/owner of the Baedeker the Other, an outcast. The speaker is "ostracized" and a "leper." At the same time, these outcasts are godly in scope; they "feed upon the wind and stars." "Our" and "your," and "we" and "you" are employed to make the distinction obvious between these creative geniuses and the destructive, misunderstanding populace. Kouidis states that:

The rare commentators on Mina Loy's poetry generally concur that "Apology of Genius" is one of her best poems. Its excellence lies in the fact that, as Loy said of Gertrude Stein's work, it is "sufficiently satisfying as verbal design." (113)

Again, Loy's intellectual brand of synaesthesia takes the stage, for

as in most of her poems Loy employs sound for satire and to enhance the lucid images of artistic uniqueness and persecution. "Lepers of the moon," "cuirass of the soul," and "criminal mystic immortels" are intricate patterns of sound and vivid epigrams shaped by an exotic, abstract/concrete diction. "Buttocks bared in aboriginal mockeries" jars the sonorities and liquid currents of the other images, its forceful plosives aping the vulgarity of the public's intolerance. (114)

Critics who examine Loy's poetry must often resort to synaesthetic tactics to examine her synaesthesia. Kouidis, for example, employs the term "pattern" in relation to "sound," "vivid" to "epigrams," and "liquid" to "images." Loy's description is infectious and highly effective, but extraordinarily difficult and easy to misunderstand.

"Lunar Baedeker" and "Apology of Genius" create the backdrop for the collection. The first establishes the import of the visual and the perceived distance between the author and everyone else. The second establishes the place and function of the artist, and the pain associated with the identity of a misunderstood and unappreciated genius. "Joyce's Ulysses" follows "Apology of Genius," and Loy means for us to view Joyce along the same lines as her "sacerdotal clowns." Her autobiographical "English Rose" then follows, and its placement highlights Loy's self-identification with the ostracized chosen. After genius is apologized for, and after a specific genius is recognized and justified, "English Rose" begs that Loy be considered one of the divinely outcast.

These themes of identity and place continue and literally take center stage in "Crab-Angel" (Loy 10), the fifth poem. It would have been the centerpiece of the first section if Loy deleted her laudatory poems about others. Loy, who envisions herself in the Part I poems as the misunderstood, gifted "fossil virgin," perhaps also saw herself as the incarnation of the freakish circus performer, the "crab-angel." Kouidis noted that:

In a biographical sketch (ca. 1915) intended probably for [Carl] VanVechten's article "Some 'Literary Ladies' I Have Known," [Loy] characterizes her life as one "of shilly-shallying shyness -- of an utter inability to adjust myself to anything actual," and she describes herself as "a sort of hermit crab occasionally lured to expansiveness [...]." (6)

The visual import of the "crab-angel" is multifaceted. Crabs move sideways, with the "utter inability" to face things and move forward in a straight line. The crab-angel's description is meant to be diminutive, derogatory, and grotesque; it has a "squat body" and "pigmy arms." However, its "pearly claws" presage its internal and transcendent beauty and true angelic self, though the external may be worthy of a circus freak show. The world of "The Crab-Angel" is a circus and the crab-angel reigns over it. His control, however, is "useless." The crab-angel is impotent, a "Helen of Lilliput," a "Hercules in a powder puff." Part 2 of the poem, the "Song," emphasizes the crab-angel's status as pawn, attempting an impossible task: "clutching the tail end of the Chimera." He exits after his performance, waving his wig to the strangely-absent audience: this was all an act.

The poem is Loy's attempt to define the elusive qualities that would later be personified in the "angel bum," that freakish combination of the grotesque and transcendent, innocent and worldly. For Kouidis, these two emblematic figures complete the metaphysical scheme of Loy's later work and "together they establish the boundaries of human possibility":

The first of these figures is the artist. He alone among humanity possesses the vision for intuiting the essence of life's chaos and the skill to shape his intuitions into form -- the divine principle. The second figure is the bum, emblem of the timid or failed vision, who seeks transcendence of worldly care in false Elysiums and Nirvanas. Both bum and artists strive to transcend chaos, but the bum has chosen a corrupt means (109).

The extreme pain and utter loneliness that construct life's chaos reveals itself in the sixth poem, "Der Blinde Junge" (Loy 11), the only explicit utterance in Lunar Baedecker that Loy makes regarding World War I. Here, failed vision is literal as well as metaphorical. The Blind Youth serves to emphasize the sightlessness, dependent, child-like state of man. War victims ("Kriegsopfer") are littered instead of born, utterly inhuman from the beginning of the poem to the end, where "A downy youth's snout/nozzling the sun" is an "expressionless 'thing'." Loy again asserts that life is meaningless; the subject is a "Pure purposeless eremite/of centripetal sentience." While the hermit, or religious recluse ("eremite"), is "pure," s/he is also "purposeless," like the "useless" crab-angel. The capacity for feeling pulls inward to the self, instead of out into the cosmos. This tension between the sacred and profane, the selfish and the martyr, is another Loy trademark, as well as a modern concern.

The modern theme of constricted movement makes an appearance, with the choice of words such as "obstacle," "pushing," "moves not," and "strains." Here the vestige of her futurist love of unimpeded movement is upended and transformed into the modern conception of life as something of a trap, where movement is controlled externally. Movement is so constricted, it is distilled into matter. While modern poets have long condensed imagery, Loy explicitly invokes the image of condensation: "Sparkling precipitate/the spectral day." According to Kouidis, the poem is an explicit utterance of

the city as microcosm of cosmic and social forces [...] where a physically blinded youth is emblematic of the frustrated human need for vision. [...] The youth's blindness, symbolic of humanity in general and perhaps the postwar generation in particular, prophesies the spiritual atrophy that afflicts the self when vision is abandoned or obstructed. He is society's -- the city's -- victim; but the larger arena of his tragedy is an indifferent universe, represented in all Mina Loy's poetry by the sun. To fulfill his being, man must look unflinchingly into the sun, but one of the realities he will perceive is that it cares nothing for him. (128)

The concept of vision and emphasis on sight, of course "firmly unites [Loy] to the Baudelairian-fin de siècle emphasis on vision" (129). This again reinforces the link between the identity of the late-Victorian lady Mina Loy was to forever possess and the Modern woman she was to become. Her art education kept her focused on the visual, while her intellect was aligned with modern synaesthesia and linguistic maneuvering. Burke acknowledges the internal difficulty of the piece. For her it is a poem of unimaginable loss which

ends with a change of tone: while its conclusion reads like satire, the poem gestures at the spiritual realm. [...] The poem challenged readers in its time and is still difficult in ours, no doubt because satire and elegy assume different emotions, yet here combine to suggest the extremity of the period and the hope of some larger vision. (318)

Subject positions are always problematic in Loy and they only begin in the 17 poems of Lunar Baedecker. Where does she position herself? where should the reader be? who is saying what to whom? In "Ignoramus" (12), the seventh poem, this issue is at its most complex. Who is the ignoramus? He who disagrees with the position presented in the poem? He who inspired the poem? Those who are misunderstood because they believe the poem? Loy's wit and irony are at their highest peaks as she examines the universe from a counting of glumes (the chaffy bract at the base of a spikelet of grass) to the counting of stars. Perspective moves from the infinitesimally small to the infinite, from the lining of a pocket to Empyrean, and the poem ends with a speaker never completing his or her thought; there are no closing quotation marks. Kouidis reads the piece as the voice of a "clownish" speaker who, "unable to compete in the counting houses of men, he has taken a seat in nature's stock exchange, where he trades insubstantial 'glumes' and avoids his own failure by fastidiously mimicking the postures and speech of the world's 'busymen' "(129-30).

"O Hell," the eleventh poem, concludes the first part (15). It is, in many ways, a rallying cry for the Modernist. The poem is an expression along the lines of the epigraph of the Arensberg/Kreymborg publication Others, in the pages of which Loy first published six poems and the entire "Love Songs" set: "The old expressions are with us always,/ And there are always others" (qtd. in Kouidis 13). It was also an expression of Loy's "longing for personal and social regeneration" (Burke 281):

The term "spring" was loaded for the Modernists. While it retained all the romantic symbolism of rebirth and renewal, it took on an added significance because Modernists questioned exactly what was being born. With a World War consuming the people and the minds of a generation, William Butler Yeats in "The Second Coming" (1921), asked just "[...] what rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" There was so much accumulation of the past ("our forebears' excrements") that both created and burdened the poets of the time. What were they to do with the rules and lessons of the Romantics and Realists? "[B]ury the subconscious archives/Under unaffected flowers [...]" was Loy's first stanza "O Hell" suggestion.

It was time to realize the personal potential within. As "O Hell" continues: "Our person is a covered entrance to infinity/Choked with the tatters of tradition." It was exactly what Loy was about to explore in the second half of Lunar Baedecker: the political was about to turn personal as her scope would be directed inward. There was a tentative healing on the horizon, if only people could clearly see a route of escape. "O Hell" concludes: "Goddesses and Young Gods/Caress the sanctity of Adolescence/In the shaft to the sun [...]." Loy began with an invocation to the moon -- the "silver Lucifer" and the "fossil virgin" -- and by the conclusion of the first half of Lunar Baedecker she had become that symbolist master which Marinetti abjured, the last lover of the moon. Her trajectory is now to the sun, and as Kouidis reminds us, "an indifferent universe [is] represented in all Mina Loy's poetry by the sun. To fulfill his being, man must look unflinchingly into the sun, but one of the realities he will perceive is that it cares nothing for him" (128). The sun is a symbol of light and enlightenment and the moon reflects the sun's light. For Loy, the moon also acts as a multilayered ironic symbol: romantic, female, reflecting but not generating its glow, powerful, opposite, satellite, and cosmic but dependent upon the earth. The sun and moon are Loy's "alpha and omega," the exact terms she employs when discussing Brancusi's "Golden Bird" sculpture [in "Brancusi's Golden Bird" (Loy 13)], for her the ultimate achievement in modern expression of form, shape, and art. There is a sharp division between sections which indicates a marked departure, or a change in destination. The search for personal redemption would become the emphasis of part two, intertwined with faith and cosmic conceptualizations of time and the infinite. While Modern concerns controlled the first half of Lunar Baedecker, more intimate concerns would complete it.

"Love Songs" (Loy 16-19), the shortened version of "Songs to Joannes," a 34 poem set, begins Loy's 1914-1915 selections in Lunar Baedecker. It consists of 13 smaller thematically linked poems, some as brief as two lines. The overwhelming concern in Part II is the problem of finding redemption through a substantial, loving union between men and women. Loy had at this point seen her marriage dissolve and two love affairs go sour. She was not to meet Arthur Cravan until the spring of 1917 [they married in January of 1918 and he was to disappear that November] and was understandably jaded towards the idea of true love. Dunn summarized the second half as "a collage of slices of life that focus less explicitly on aesthetics and more particularly on social and sexual issues of gender" (18-9).

The first poem in the "Love Songs" set is perhaps Loy's most famous -- or infamous. "Pig Cupid" (16), as it is commonly known, seems a strange beginning to a set of love songs, for it reveals the seamier and more mundane (in its dictionary definition, not its common) side of attraction. It is unromantic, animalistic, and unrepentant, even going so far as to invoke a fairy tale beginning (" 'Once upon a time' ") and to surround those words not only with quotation marks, to make the phrase self-consciously problematic, but with words in the preceding and following lines such as "erotic garbage" and "weeds." The line that stands alone, drawing attention to itself, is "These are suspect places." Loy perhaps is wary of the idea of romantic love, but the alternatives are just as suspect. The evocation of Loy's trademark celestial concerns are, as always, evident: "Eternity in a sky-rocket/Constellations in an ocean." The emphasis, however oblique, is in the earthly capture of these heavenly things. Eternity is based in man's movement, in an object of his design; constellations are bound to the earth, residing in oceans. They have been plucked from the skies to flicker and gutter on the ground. Perhaps that is why they are so suspect. Likewise, Loy herself is losing her passion:

The visual import of "colored glass" is based upon tiny pieces that create a kaleidoscopic whole when viewed from the correct perspective. The same can be said about Lunar Baedecker. One of Loy's most poignant childhood memories (and psychologically primal moments) involved a stained glass window, and the concept of colored glass as a mixed blessing and an intricate and incomprehensibly beautiful thing was to stay with her and reveal itself in her art until her death (Burke 14).

Kouidis describes "Love Songs" as a "startlingly erotic, technically difficult [...] collage [...] presenting a disillusioned and cynical analysis of religious and romantic love" (14). She also sees many parallels between Loy's "Love Songs" and Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," both published in 1915: "Structurally both the 'Love Songs' and 'Prufrock' embody the movement of consciousness in disjunctive forms (the 'Love Songs' even more closely resemble the collage structure of The Waste Land)" (60). Burke reads the poems as a blending of Loy's two early agendas: futurism and feminism:

Mina continued to identify her "masculine" side with the aggressive, action-seeking rhetoric of the Futurists and her "feminine" side with the prompting of the unconscious. In 1915, when she was writing the radically modern poetic sequence that she would call "Love Songs," the blank page became the space in which to record her fear that she would never revert to her former self. "Love Songs" began as an analysis of her "utter defeat in the sex war," as she called it [...]. (185)

So controversial were the "Songs" that Amy Lowell "threatened to withdraw her support of Others," "Love Songs"'s original publisher (191). The collection stormed the artistic scene where the new, avant garde poets were celebrating vers libre; but it met with popular editorial ridicule. As Dunn recounts: "Love Songs [...] succeeded in scandalizing the New York press and positioning [Loy] as one of the most radical poets of the New York avant-garde. [...] Love Songs to Joannes were arguably the most radical and controversial poems of their time" (50; 129). The Evening Sun columnist Don Marquis quipped that when Others publisher Alfred Kreymborg wrote a poem

no one but Mina Loy knows exactly what it means, and she never tells anyone but Sadakichi Hartmann. Sadakichi Hartmann is sometimes comprehended by Ezra Pound, but never by himself. When Gertrude Stein writes a book she takes it to Stieglitz, who reads it aloud and Marsden Hartley paints a picture of the reading, and there are only three people in the world, besides us, who can look at the painting and tell Miss Stein what she thought when she wrote the book, and even after she is told she does not understand. (qtd. in Burke 197)

Poem II (Loy 16) of the "Love Songs" series continues with Loy's disappointment in the sphere of the romantic. The speaker of the poem is obliquely accusing her lover of belittling and destroying the Universe they had built:

Poem III (Loy 16) describes alienation, solitude, and fear under the guise of a nightmare, heading towards the (now established as) uncaring sun. Poem IV (16-17) is a modern take on the argument that "men are from Mars and women are from Venus": never the twain, or in Loy's case, antipodean, shall meet. Sex is conflated with antagonism in the ultramodern and sexually explicit Poem V (17): "Shuttle-cock and battle-door/A little pink-love/And feathers are strewn[.]" Conversely, Kouidis reads the piece as a description of the aftermath of meaningless sexual union: "the carelessly strewn feathers of the badminton-like shuttlecock and battledore are the trivial litter left after the sexual game" (77). The concept of a joyless union is likewise the subject of Poem VI (Loy 17): "Let Joy go solace-winged/To flutter whom she may concern[.]" Again, autobiographical concerns dominate in Poem VII (17), where perfection is portrayed as unattainable in a family. The choice between reality and an equally sacrificial and bare martyrdom is the emphasis of Poem VIII (17-18). So much for love in the "Love Songs": the final five poems (18-19) address the potential for beauty and truth in a union, the unfulfilled motion that consumes our lives, endless yearning, disappointment, and disgust.

These modern themes all continue through Part II. Loy's significant love, Arthur Cravan, was not to enter her life for another two years, and her relationships with men had always been fraught with tensions and anger. Loy was to find her intellectual, creative, and emotional equal in Cravan, who, sadly, she knew for only 20 months before he disappeared off the coast of Mexico. With this experience in her future, Loy's concerns were with the strangely unfulfilling life she led romantically, and the almost unreal couplings in which she saw her friends. Loy was 32 years old, weary of love, and fancied herself the older and wiser woman of the world. "Café du Néant" (The Nothingness Café) and "Magasins du Louvre" are Loy's distanced observations of the love of others, whereas her "Love Songs" were deeply personal, and true to any Baedeker, decidedly subjective. A trio of poems entitled "Italian Pictures" then follows, together forming poem four, and marks a shift in Loy's conception of the self and Other. Finally, Loy is in a position to view the Other as something other than herself.

Love and its intrinsic problems are still the focus in this triad, but Loy is acutely aware of herself as not a part of the foreign environment. It is beyond a simple fetishism of native peoples, however. It indicts the British for their British-ness:

I cannot imagine anything
Less disputably respectable
Than prolonged invalidism in Italy
At the beck
Of a British practitioner (Loy 20)

and "We English make a tepid blot/On the messiness/Of the passionate Italian life-traffic" (21). The British are the ones who become stereotypical in a trope of the noble savage: here the Brits are the ignoble ultra-civilized, the cultivated parasites. As Kouidis analyzes it:

"Italian Pictures" (1914) depicts Italians who lead energetic, spontaneous, and sometimes cruel lives. They live unreflectingly with their poverty, ignorance, and ancient culture, integrating their biological, spiritual, and emotional being. Self-conscious and isolated English characters and narrators are foils to the Italians. (38)

Burke chooses to emphasize Loy's growing feeling of isolation from her native culture:

Mina and Mabel [Dodge] were set apart by their unusual clothing and manners -- they smoked in public. From her isolated position as a foreigner, Mina observed the differences that placed her outside both cultures and began drafting "July in Vallombrosa," the poem that would become the first in a series of "Italian Pictures." Contrasting the desiccated English invalids with the spirited Italian matrons, she eavesdropped as they discussed "the better business of bed-linen." (172)

Identifying strongly with neither her mother country nor her vacation destination, Loy was poetically expressing the concept of "a (wo)man without a country," yet another Modernist characteristic. The self was without a firm location -- without place -- but the overarching concept of the traditional Baedeker emphasized that peripatetic behavior would ultimately be safe. After all, one was a traveler; the final destination was always home. However, this was not the case for Loy, nor for many other modern artists. The exodus of artistic expatriates to Paris was to reach its peak in the early 1920s. Among these, Loy's close friends Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Djuna Barnes were off to join the geniuses in residence: "all the greats -- Joyce, Picasso, Pound, and Stein" (Burke 304-5).

Also evident in "Italian Pictures" is the leitmotif of difficulty with breathing, as if Loy were constricted not only in her movement from place to place, but in a more intimate, unconscious constriction. "July in Vallombrosa" (Loy 21) mentions "the bronchitis-kettle," "The Costa San Giorgio" (22) consumption, and "Costa Magic" (24) has the main character diagnosed with and later supposedly dies from "Phthisis," a progressive, wasting disease, much like tuberculosis ("consumption"). This trapped and doomed feeling, combined with an unfocused anger, would carry through to the end of Lunar Baedecker, suffusing the final two poems.

"Sketch of a Man on a Platform" (Loy 24), a sharply biting critique of Marinetti and his decerebrate masculine physicality, reemphasizes the personal. As soon as Loy provides distance she usually follows it with a jolt of poetic intimacy. She plays with the concept of space -- the external, cosmic, heavenly -- but she toys just as much with internal space and how it creates the self. The emphasis on the physical/corporeal and the ultimate difference between the sexes reaches its peak in the sixth and final poem in Lunar Baedecker, ironically, or perhaps not, a poem about childbirth: "Parturition" (Loy 25-7). Kouidis sees the poem as a paean for feminine liberation:

The poem is significant among Loy's explorations of female selfhood because it details an area of femaleness rarely thought suitable for literature, and because it unites the spiritual and intellectual life with the physical. She has tried to free woman from passive slavery to her unique pain by causing pain creatively to arrive at a clear understanding of the female experience. In giving birth to the child, she gives birth to her self [...]. Thus, using a metaphysics which could be expected to lead to an intuition of freedom and possibility, Mina Loy rediscovers woman's limitation and helplessness, and also woman's strength. [...] The disillusion of this necessary human compromise with the ideal, protectively masked in characteristic irony, is at the heart of her quest for selfhood. (40, 46-7)

Burke reads the piece as more autobiographical and allegorical, where Loy remembers that her then-husband, Stephen Haweis, visited "the woman [Loy] took to be his mistress while she suffered through labor" (95) and is an "allegory of the poet's rebirth" (325).

The poem is actually much more problematic. It does indeed contain elements of irony, satire, selfhood, autobiography, but it does so with a strong echo to all the themes in Lunar Baedecker, and thus, themes of Modernism itself. It provides the perfect ending to the collection, making thematic links and creating an overall, Modern teleology.

Kouidis observes that the assertion "I am" appears six times in the poem's thirteen stanzas (44) and leads readers to the conclusion that selfhood is somehow realized and clear-cut. But while the emphasis of this poem is on the physical/corporeal and the larger, more philosophical construction of the self, it is inextricably linked to pain and loss, typified in the poem's first two lines: "I am the centre/Of a circle of pain." The loss is seen in the construct of that-which-should-be-but-is-not, rather than something which was achieved but now is gone. The location of the self is absent; the self is defined but rootless:

I am the false quantity
In the harmony of physiological potentiality
To which
Gaining self-control
I should be consonant
In time.

The husband is portrayed as a "brute" and his petty dalliance is contrasted with the speaker's experience of creating life itself. The speaker's self has grown even larger than independence; she is "no part of" herself, not fixed spatially, and on the verge of infinite:

I am knowing
All about
Unfolding[.]

Immediately space and time collapse, and what was as enormous as "Death" and "Life" becomes a normal bedroom. She mocks this conflated world her child has just entered, and the roles its women have to play:

The next morning
Each woman-of-the-people
Tiptoeing the red pile of the carpet
Doing hushed service
Each woman-of-the-people
Wearing a halo
A ludicrous little halo
Of which she is sublimely unaware [...].

Each "woman-of-the-people" is a saint, but a ridiculous one, and she is even unaware of the blessing because it has absolutely no affect upon her life of "service." "Parturition" concludes with a benison of sorts:

Again, Loy's voice is torn between "proper," indoctrinated, sacred, Victorian/King Jamesian5 values, and her own wry experience. Dunn makes the remarkable assertion that "Parturition" was written at the same time as Loy's "Aphorisms on Futurism," and that "it is interesting to note that Loy later edited the manuscript of 'Aphorisms on Futurism' to be retitled as 'Aphorisms on Modernism' " (71). This revolutionary statement, in Dunn warranting a footnote, provides the perfect transition to begin to speak of Loy's Lunar Baedecker in truly Modern terms.

What remains intriguing after a reading is the overall structure. If one reads Lunar Baedecker as a whole greater than the sum of its parts, then patterns begin to emerge. The final poem, "Parturition," recalls the first, "Lunar Baedeker": the speaker is still detached, still ostracized, still waxing and waning. The link between the moon (associated with female fertility -- and its control) and childbirth is made, making the most obvious chain from beginning to end. The self begins in "Lunar Baedeker" absent, questioned, or only as celestial, and in the end is "the centre." The words "cosmos" and "cosmic" appear in the final poem, a strange invocation for a poem of birth, seemingly more suited to a poem about the moon. Two lines in stanza 8 of "Parturition" are: "Vitalized by cosmic initiation/ Furnish an adequate apology." The first poem in the book is of the cosmos ("Lunar Baedeker"), and the second is "Apology of Genius." Loy is mirroring these very poems, not only their concerns, in her final piece. Additionally, there are reverberations back to the traditional Baedeker-ian epigram by Chaucer:

Loy's Baedecker was sent into the world without this explicit sacred prayer, but with an implicit, somewhat blasphemous ("Lucifer"), certainly profane hope for successful travel and a correction of past errors. Perhaps Loy is implying in her final poem that her apologies are now quite enough to justify her journey and this journey will be endless and fruitful. Both books -- the original Baedeker and Loy's Baedecker -- are born, sent into the world with a hope of good passage. "Parturition," then, is the fitting title to her last poem.

Lunar Baedecker (and "Lunar Baedeker") begins with perdition, or the promise of it: "A silver Lucifer/serves/cocaine in cornucopia." Lucifer was God's brightest angel, second only to Himself. When God begot His son, Jesus Christ, Lucifer was superseded. Competition for the Lord's affection is a strong theme in the first two poems. Who exactly the speaker is competing with, however, remains a mystery. Identification with this Lucifer/moon is, as before mentioned, an intriguing aspect which is elaborated upon in the second poem.

In "Apology of Genius" the speaker is "Ostracized [...] with God." Very rarely are the two words "ostracized" and "with" linked idiomatically. Is the speaker Lucifer, God's most promising angel, who fell from grace to rule Hell as Satan? The answer remains clouded, for the images invoked are a mixture of the sacred and profane. These are "innocent" "lepers," "sacerdotal clowns," forging "the dusk of Chaos" "in the raw caverns of the Increate." At once these strange, otherworldly manifestations, of which the speaker is one, are godly and godless. They are martyrs in search of redemption, which they eventually find in the end. The "end," however, is ironically the end of the poem, the end of the book, and the end of the journey of life itself:

This is the ultimate paradox for a Baedeker, where the speaker is traditionally beyond reproach and the ultimate authority. Loy's Baedecker offers questions instead of pat answers, interpretations rather than canned phraseology, confusion instead of lucidity, and vagueness rather than concrete location.

Strengthening Lunar Baedecker's overall, "cosmic" unity are the following lines from "Parturition":

Each woman-of-the-people
Wearing a halo
A ludicrous little halo
Of which she is sublimely unaware.

Moons wear halos, as do angels in (the) heaven(s). And if they are truly deserving angels -- utterly devoid of pride --they remain sublimely unaware of their honor. There are also lines that imply sacrifice and martyrdom, as well as an achievement of a higher state. The speaker becomes part of the "contents of the universe," "identical" with all things "infinite" and "cosmic"; she is "absorbed/Into/The was-is-ever-shall-be." "Parturition" ends on a note of resigned redemption. The speaker is resigned because nothing has changed; there remain those who are still "unaware." The speaker is redeemed; she has become a part of the infinite and been truly enlightened, but in Loy's case, not by the sun, but by the sum, and by the moon. This redemption is not without irony, though, for she thanks God not out of heartfelt religious belief, but because of something she "once heard." Perhaps she simply thanks God that the long journey has ended and she has achieved a hard-earned and transcendent unification even if no one else has. That may mean, like many other prototypical modern works, that the journey through the chaos of life results in salvation, or the promise of it, or directions on how to achieve it (loosely and respectively Spring and All, The Waste Land, In Our Time). Complicating that thesis, however, is the fact that the redemptive poem was one of Loy's earlier pieces, not reflecting the truly modern life she was to lead and which generated her far more foreboding poems in the first half. Was "Parturition" her final ironic twist?

Loy once wrote in "The Metaphysical Pattern in Aesthetics" (an unpublished essay) that any sort of traditional faith/organized religion was especially problematic for the modern: "The modern has chosen to exteriorate the 'God in the machine' without the ceremonies of the graven image" (qtd. in Dunn 41). Where does Loy's modern sense of irony end, and when does it turn back upon itself, full circle, like the moon, to become belief? Her faith, or lack thereof, appears in shadowed form in almost every poem in the first section. "Apology of Genius" has its "sacerdotal clowns," "Joyce's Ulysses" and "Crab-Angel" their invocations of "Christ," "Der Blinde Junge" its "eremite," "Ignoramus" its martyr, and " 'The Starry Sky' of Wyndham Lewis," and "O Hell" their infinite. This faith moves to the personal sphere with Part II. The eternal is now constructed in the individual, until its reaches its climax in "Parturition."

Providing yet another thread of continuity in Lunar Baedecker are the intertwined ideas of endurance, inequality, and anger. The moon is eternal, as is God. Even the movement implied in the first piece ("Pocked with personification/the fossil virgin of the skies/waxes and wanes") is a movement that implies stasis. In the concluding lines the final poem makes the eternal far more mundane. It collapses upon itself, from the cosmic unfolding of the creation of life, to the petty concerns of mornings after a birth, where domestic concerns are once again the focus of the day. This, of course, plays into the hand of Loy's voicings of gender inequality, done with wit and intelligence, but no less enraged for the impeccable style with which they are created. The halo on the unremarkable woman is "ludicrous" and the teachings of God are presented with the same distance as the remembrance of true love [in "Pig Cupid"], both with the word "once." Whether you begin on page one of Lunar Baedecker, or with the chronological beginning of the poems in the collection, there is, fittingly, forever a motif of endurance and strength. It may not have been achieved through God or Motherhood, but through the self. Even that remains a hazy assumption, both to Loy and the reader, because the modern self attempts to define itself apart from relationships to others (and Others) and utterly by itself -- ostracized.

Whether one reads Lunar Baedecker as a circular text or as a creative journey, it is thoroughly modern. Other critics have made this a cornerstone for their justification of general Loy scholarship, but few have lifted the entire text to a level befitting that label. Dunn, one of the few critics who allude to or acknowledge Lunar Baedecker's overall unity, states that Loy's "writings in general -- and Lunar Baedecker specifically -- articulate modernism's silenced voices and embody modernism's repressed desires" (13). Additionally, the text "as a whole, and particularly the first section, highlights [the] tension between ascent and descent" (14). Modernism's obsessions with movement and circularity are evident in Loy. The imagery is not the only Modern calling card, as Dunn continues:

Modernist formalism was an important part of Loy's aesthetic as it can be seen in her highly abstract and compact poems, her dense, Latinate language, and her techniques of achieving distance through a surgical irony. Furthermore, her celebration of artists such as Constantin Brancusi illustrates that Loy did indeed participate in the high modernist appreciation of the autonomous work of art. (37)

Also modern was Loy's insistence on the "art for art's sake"/"make it new" credo of the movement. Dunn recounts, "Loy's notion of the importance of the materiality of things -- of thingness -- recognizes the strength and weaknesses of Marinetti's penchant for simply 'pushing/THINGS [...]' " (114). This "thingness" was described by William Carlos Williams in 1958, on the occasion of the publication of Loy's Lunar Baedeker and Time-Tables, as "cleanliness," which of course, is next to godliness:

Mina Loy was endowed from birth with a first-rate intelligence and a sensibility which has plagued her all her life facing a shoddy world. When she puts a word down on paper it is clean; that forces her fellows to shy away from it because they are not clean and will be contaminated by her cleanliness. Therefore she has not been a successful writer and couldn't care less. But it has hurt her chances of being known. (qtd. in Conover Last xvi)

This strange obscurity was foretold by Harriet Monroe, who called Loy " 'an extreme otherist' and [designated her] 'one of the long-to-be-hidden-moderns' " (Last xxxiv). This ultramodern, otherist posture perhaps drew her in part to Others, the Alfred Kreymborg vehicle in which Loy first published six poems and the entire "Love Songs" set. As Roger Conover explains, "Sixty years after the magazine's demise, critics are even more convinced of the importance of Others to the origins of American modernism" (Last xxxv).

Even Loy herself had a recipe for modernism:

If you are very frank with yourself and don't mind how ridiculous anything that comes to you may seem, you will have a chance of capturing the symbol of your direct reaction .... The antique way to live and express life was to .... say it according to the rules. But the modern flings herself at life and lets herself feel what she does feel then upon the very tick of the second she snatches the images of life that fly through the brain. (qtd. in Conover Last xliv)

Lunar Baedecker was Loy's singular vision brought to fruition. Her journey was beyond the clutches of earth, to the stars, and beyond. Perhaps it was always Loy's selenography that helped to define her Modernism: an endless cosmos filled with "images of life." Very often these were paraselenes, but they were always mock moons of her own making. Roger Conover wrote in 1982, sixteen years after Loy's death, that "no collection of writings can encompass all the drafts, no biography all the facts. But we keep shining out light on the margins, and occasionally we pick up something odd, and new. We think we are reading a poem. Then something glistens. Mina Loy?" (Last lxi)

Genius is fleeting, and Loy knew that well. A poem left unpublished at the time of her death -- Conover dates it sometime between 1930 and 1950 -- was an ode to her ever-present inspiration, lover, and self, entitled, "Moreover, The Moon":

Face of the skies
preside
over our wonder
 
Flourescent
truant of heaven
draw us under
 
Silver, circular corpse,
your decease
infects us with unendurable ease
touching nerve-terminals
to thermal icicles.
 
Coercive as coma, frail as bloom,
innuendos of your inverse dawn
suffuse the self;
our very corpuscle become an elf. (Last 235)

Thirty five years after Lunar Baedecker's original publication, a re-collection of Loy's work, Lunar Baedeker and Time-Tables, was published. Loy still adhered to that Victorian Handbook, which explained "the distance between places and the best routes to follow" (Johnston 456), now slightly revised to include "information as to departure" (Baedeker "Southern Germany"). Loy was never published again in her lifetime.

For Lunar Baedeker and Time-Tables, she requested that her book jacket portrait be cropped "to show only her eyes" (Burke 368h). To the very end she saw herself as this mixture of Cassandra and Pandora, the traveler and the guide, the prophet and the tease, outside and in awe, questioning her place and her power. To the very end Loy looked to the night skies and was haunted by what she saw there, the endlessness and the promise. She saw a bit of her self there as well, careening towards some modern destination on the dark side of the moon.

 


Endnotes

1 Robert McAlmon, the publisher, spelled the title incorrectly at the time of original publication and it was not to be corrected until the 1958 reissue.

 

2 They are grouped neither chronologically nor alphabetically but by Conover's conceptions of genre, among them "Early Poems," "Satires," "Later Poems," and "Didactic, Polemical and Prescriptive Writings." There is really no way to tell what Loy wanted to be blatantly satirical, lightly ironic, or downright polemical. In most cases, she flirted with many tones in every poem, so these categories seem to confuse more than assist.

 

3 All pages numbers referred to in Lunar Baedecker are in reference to the appendix version, Mina Loy's Lunar Baedecker , as the 1923 edition is unavailable for popular research. All the poems were taken from Roger L. Conover's edited versions of The Last Lunar Baedeker and The Lost Lunar Baedeker.

 

4 Roger L. Conover's edited version in The Last Lunar Baedeker lists the final lines as: "I once heard in a church/God made them"; in The Lost Lunar Baedeker it reads as presented here, as it does in Kouidis. I can locate no reason for Conover's 1982 edition error.

 

5 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).


Works Cited

Baedeker, Karl. Baedeker's Eastern Alps. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1911.

---. Baedeker's Paris and its Environs. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1894.

---. Baedeker's Southern Germany and Austria. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1891.

Burke, Carolyn. Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996.

Dunn, Susan Elizabeth. Opposed Aesthetics: Mina Loy, Modernism, and the Avant-Garde. Diss. U of Wisconsin, Madison, 1995.

Engstrom, Alfred Garwin. The Princeton Handbook of Poetic Terms. Ed. Alex Preminger. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1986.

Johnston, Bernard. Editor in Chief. Collier's Encyclopedia. volume 3. New York: Collier's, 1997.

Kouidis, Virginia M. Mina Loy: American Modernist Poet. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1980.

Loy, Mina. The Last Lunar Baedeker. Edited and Introduced by Roger L. Conover, With a Note by Jonathan Williams. Highlands, N.C.: The Jargon Society, 1982.

Loy, Mina. The Lost Lunar Baedeker. Selected and Edited by Roger L. Conover. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996.


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