A study of the American poet Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978), key figure of modernism and founder of the “objectivist” movement.
is the author of a canzone composed in the vocabulary of Marx's Capital, of a
homophonic translation of Catullus, of a critical work on Shakespeare which aspires to do away
with metaphysics and of a poem of a life entitled “A”. To make sense of this extraordinary range
of formal inventions, Abigail Lang hypothesizes that the zukofskyan project is to give an account
of the world, from the infinitesimal photons and quanta of “A”-9 to the infinitely great
constellations of “A”-19, with photographic, homophonic or mathematical precision, in
extension or in comprehension, through inventories or formulae and by experimenting with
different orders: logical, chronological, alphabetical or aleatoric. Locating the zukofskyan project
within that of modernism and tracking the meaning of the work in the detail of the letter, this
study deciphers a work often reputed
unreadable and which has been influential with a certain
number of contemporary French poets.