Is the ‘L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E’ to which August Kleinzahler refers in his piece on Louis Zukofsky (LRB, 22 May) L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, the magazine Bruce Andrews and I edited from 1978 to 1981? Probably not, since his description of our work and relation to Zukofsky does not fit. And is it ‘A’, Zukofsky’s best-known work, that Kleinzahler has in mind when he refers to A? Probably not, since his review misses the delight it provides to ear, eye and intellect. In the 165 small-format pages allotted for the Library of America edition of Zukofsky’s Selected Poems, I endeavoured to present all aspects of the poet’s work. I wonder why Kleinzahler feels Zukofsky’s work would be better served by someone who, like himself, appreciates only a small part of it? Isn’t that the kind of appropriation for which he scolds me?You go, Charles!
I guess it only makes sense: if you assign a biography to a reviewer who just plain doesn't like the work of the poet under discussion (and, I'd guess, the poet himself), & who's got a whole buttload of grudges against his contemporaries who value said biographical subject, then that reviewer's unlikely to produce a very well-balanced assessment of the book in front of him.
(Thanks to Vance for drawing my attention to this, away from the endless annotated promotion tables & charts...)