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"A" (New Directions Books) Paperback – January 31, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Books
  • Paperback: 846 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; Reprint edition (January 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811218716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811218719
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“‘A’ ’s place is in the great line of American personal epic begun in Song of Myself and stretching through the Cantos, Paterson, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, and The Dream Songs. It should be read.” (The Nation)

“The poem is “of a life,” but the life that it presents is closer to life-as-experienced than life as narrated or told. And that, in the final analysis, is precisely the essence of Zukofsky’s genius.” (Mary Wilson - Make Magazine)

“Magnificent: a great poem really rolling in all its power and splendor of language.” (James Laughlin)

“Zukofsky’s art, in this work, is without equal. No poet of our time can sound the resources of language, so actuate words to become all that they might be thought otherwise to engender.” (Robert Creeley - The New York Times)

“'A' belongs in the company of the major modernist epics such as Pound's Cantos or Williams' Patterson. It will repay as much attention as it is given.” (Bob Perelman - The Philadelphia Inquirer)

About the Author

Louis Zukofsky spent forty-six years writing his masterwork “A,” and died before he could see the completed version published. Poet, translator, fiction writer, essayist, anthologist, critic, teacher, WPA worker, and binding force of the Objectivist poets, Zukofsky was born in New York City and lived in or near the city his whole life.

Barry Ahearn is the Pierce Butler Professor of English at Tulane University. His books include Zukofsky’s “A”: An Introduction, Pound/Zukofsky: Selected Letters, and The Correspondence of William Carlos Williams and Louis Zukofsky.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mark Scroggins on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Zukofsky's "A" isn't for the timid--it's long, after all--and it's not for those who don't want to give their minds and ears a workout--in other words, it's difficult, and doesn't sound like...well, like Robert Pinsky, or Robert Frost. But for readers who are patient enough to let the peerless music of the verse sink in, and who don't demand that poetry give them a prepackaged "message," "A" offers a wonderful range of pleasures. It's a long poem in as many forms as you can imagine, from Shakespearean sonnets, to letter-perfect canzoni, to phonetic translations from the Hebrew. It's a poem that tracks 50 years in the life of its writer and 50 years of American history, from the Depression through the space race. It makes the most wonderful sound of any book in English since Joyce's *Ulysses*.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "chax" on August 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Not only is this justifiably regarded as one of the most important long poems of the 20th Century, it is one of the most enjoyable of them. People say Zukofsky is difficult, but he's not so difficult if one listens: "The ears have it." Zukofsky says a poem offers pleasure by means of "sight, sound, and intellection." That's one key in to this work. Another is to notice that this is perhaps the first American long poem, at least in its first half or more, that offers a leftist/Marxist perspective. Another is that it lets us see an important Jewish poet finding his place as American and modernist/postmodernist. These are real dramas that can be found in *A.* Another key to reading *A* is to enjoy Zukofsky's intense pleasure in everyday, family life. There are ways in which this great poem is accessible to all readers. Finding one's way in can require patience, but more than anything, it simply requires an act of listening with open ears and mind.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Geoff on February 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This poem is incredible.
"A" is a must read for any reader serious about poetry, literary aesthetics, or modern thought. Zukofsky incorporates immense ideas into his work, and keeps the reader challenged. But though the poem is highly cerebral, it's not just a poem for scholars and academicians. It's emotional and beautiful as well as stimulating. Even if you don't have the time or energy to read all of "A", read bits and pieces of it. You will be caught up in the language. You will be amazed. Read it at leisure, study it, or keep it on your bookshelf for years at a time. You will most definitely get something out of it. Readers who like "The Cantos" will most likely enjoy this as well. It is fantastic.
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