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Louis Zukofsky

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Bruce Andrews

What’s the Word:

An Essay on Reading, for Louis Zukofsky’s Centennial, words from his _‘A’ 1 – 24_ and _Complete Short Poetry_

This piece is about 14 printed pages long.

All fourteen pages of this material have been removed as a result of this demand from Paul Zukofsky: “I am the only child, and sole heir, of Louis and Celia Zukofsky. I am also the person with sole control over all their copyrights, including works both published and unpublished. Jacket 30 is in gross violation of those copyrights. [....] I demand that you remove all Louis (and Celia) Zukofsky material forthwith, from Jacket 30, as well as any other material that you may have posted. Please be aware that I reserve all options in the vigorous defense of my property. Sincerely, Paul Zukofsky”


There will have to be a
Redefinition of writing.

a13  292

Or: that cannot be praiseless
Which considers each word.

a12  162

… thinkglimpsing

csp 344

… An observer’s irrelevancy

csp 41

had so much to do with so little
perhaps some syllables

csp 228

… if these lines were broken
down into such jewelled shorts word for word

a18 394

As the eyes
              near wreck
to create
              when they see

csp 198

hear with their

a24 581

who see with their ears

a24 581

Music avoids impossibility

csp 77

The sound and pitch emphasis of a word
are never apart from its meaning

a24 575

lower limit speech
upper limit music,

a14 349

For you I have emptied the meaning
Leaving the song

csp 81

Look in your own ear and read.

csp 213

to “tune in

a24 568

to let it become a movement of sounds.

a24 566

Alliteration often equals anyone can stutter

a13 277

… — choràl out
of random input.

a14 354

… how song’s exaction
Forces abstraction to turn from equated
Values to labor we have approximated.

a9 108

… Sounds are too volatile for
legal restraints.

a18 395

Desire mates tone:

a13 301

… Shut up!

a21 505

Says you!

a24 773


a24 671

The nonsense recorded its own testimony

a24 723

Figure it out

a13 302

‘I read poetry, and I enjoy it
If it says anything,
But so often it doesn’t say anything’.

a6 26

… read, not into, it:
desire until all be bright.

a22 528

the words of an insoluble sentence

a24 771

… — impossible’s
sort-of think-cramp x:

a23 563

— tries, as is said, to breathe the “literal” meaning with him.

csp 243

… annunciate a reference,
unbinds juncture of yoke

csp 284

… I don’t delight in semantics

a18 398

Only the notes that see,
But for your pages you tore up a13 295 Forget terms.

csp 213

… in brute delicate trembling

csp 17

And yet I wonder and am stunned —

csp 127

To be undone again.

a12 162

Hot n’ bothered?

a6 33

… whose tizzied head
o my—lip own anatomy

a23 544

I am taken aback by a difference

csp 124

… (thoughts’ torsion)!

csp 65

suspend judgment (likely impossible)

a22 521

He has no human tendency to squawk,

csp 117

never so overbearing or sure
entirely letters sealed

a22 525

… the body figures, not
clamor, eddies of notes destroy

a22 529

An effervescence makes them retreat

csp 138

Practicing word sleight —

a6 22

… deprived echo,

a23 542

Forms only in snatches,
Words rangeless, melody forced by writing,

a6  22

the story must exist in each word or I cannot go on.

a24 769

As if their little lines and wretched effects

a13  278

The glaze of mind

csp 44

To startle minds with abstractions

csp 129

but the letters are there and seem to exude thought.

a24 581

In a state of desire . . so as to . . care better . . just facts

a13  283

… undreamt judgment

a23 562

… ’ll echo . . of guide-rules

a23 557

Who now?

csp 246

propound a law of ‘all’
and each fret tuned singly

a23 558

… , I a

a23 559

The mind moves the body
(Cerebral charges?

a12 188

Tape recorder — tape reason — is that my voice

a13 288

Isorhythm — I — so rhythm a13 281
too easy
for tutor
to be
his own

a19 430

paper-thin throat poet narcissus

csp 345

… self-taunt
tacked down in the mirror,

a5 18

. . for my own more ready reference,

a8 101

closed on the lip

csp 156

… Pride false to its own voice lolling

a18 396


csp 312

I speak to myself most often

a12 130

Our bodies know more than our heads

a13 301

… what for
who knows,

a22 526

But senses confused

a24 577

… is matter and thinks

a12 164

my readers to be and with such hands as might
touch never horrified to move toward us

csp 252

… to solicit precariously?

csp 256

By intermittences
Our bloods submitted,

a12 190

Flesh the organ of touch;

a13 270

Heart us invisibly thyme time

csp 325

Hear it tease question

csp 334

… — the hot tease, errant pulse of animate heart!

csp 282

Okay, I have some dictation first.

a24 705

Philosophy moves
Faster than sound
To what purpose?

csp 126

… , all of us divided as our ears —

csp 280

I want to resign
What’s mine ain’t mine

csp 117

… even without head to you,
csp 66 These are not my sentiments,
Only sometimes does one feel that intimate

csp 116

P.S. I want to resign.

csp 117

Heart disciplines the head

a13 274

… — wisdom most sensitive
to emotion can slow to
least hurt deepest pleasure, a22 522 By the intimacy
              of eyes,
or its inverse —
              restiveness //
Of heart —

csp 181

Mind, don’t run to mind

csp 213

as the breath blown follows a breath drawn in —
as the body has the thought it will live out
as what is after begins what was about

csp 155

definite as an aching nerve

a22 509

. . beyond the laboratory brain . .

a22 534

pleads feed and feed back —

a22 509

… electrical cranial charges

csp 71

… ‘Reading’s profitable
Pleasure — not much —
attracts judgment to /
task I’ll not
remember rather’ll fire
my mind than /
furnish It —

a14 344

… ‘talk no rule to

a23 559

illusion is slow

csp 212

and the sudden jolt are also
of these nerves, glandular facilities,
brain’s charges

csp 71

Our thoughts . . ours . . their ends not our own,

a13 297

Really whether his or mine, what’s that to me
with authority to use them as my own —

csp 250

I have to reread several times
to find out what I meant

a12 215

There is no whisper but vibrates
Your body
No voice alone but that you Speak it

a10 113

desire speaks’ ‘not for them
but with them,

a23 560

… why be led —

a22 516

not the dreampistol of philosophy

a24 624

Having outlived self-offense

csp 110

And the

csp 217

… sees his story as
defined, once understood by another

a22 520

… the
intelligent and discriminating General Reader

a18 397

Shall whose writing be on paper
Whose move is on the checkerboard?

csp 50

What are those songs
straining at sense —
you the consequence?

csp 81

No one to
speak to —

a14 350

And they not I who work
More or less absorbed

csp 109

The foci of production: things reflected
As wills subjected; formed in the division
Of labor, labor takes on our imprecision —

a9 106

the jumble of order

csp 72

… our value arranges;

a9 106

… How the brain  forms its visions think-
                        ing incessantly of the things

csp 11

You’ve got to use things,
Keep ‘em in circulation,

a6 33

Choice by lot’s no insight,

a22 524

melody is not alone
speaking the words thru it

a15 366

lower limit body
upper limit dance,

a14 349

lower limit dance /
upper limit speech,

a14 349

the battle of diverse thoughts —
The actual twisting
Of many and diverse thoughts

csp 68

so increscent
to possibilities

a19 429

Impingements on things, boundlessly

a13 265

… No knowledge but
intimate pleasure,

a22 517

If I turn pages back
A child may as well be staring with me
Wondering at the meaning csp 83 In any order
That comes
Into my mind
At the time?

csp 128

You’ll have to see how they do it

csp 116

‘pleasures do’ wit’s joys accord:
so on hand-vowed integrities,

a23 560

The spectator may refuse to be convinced a24 675 … Don’t suppose
Prove the foreigner;

a13 263

Among strangers — there was always the practical
            problem of getting an audience:

a6 38

… unbridled harange maybe
argued can nod

csp 344

so any pair of two
make wonder, sign

csp 156

… preordained packed hearts

csp 290

… echo echo serious

csp 339

possibility of a convocation without summons,

a24 731

… Light is
Like night is like us when we meet

a9 106

… disarmed enamored readiness

a23 555

Magnetic hearts —

csp 120

kiss: constant please

a22 511

… pact is pubescence

csp 350

Seems the exception moved
By the intimacy of one response

a13 292

seconding heart-chords’ dictate

a23 559

… head-on-head

csp 350

growing together hush one heart.

a23 537

Talk is a form of love
Let us talk.

csp 129

dissonance winked conceived acting together

a22 529

Radiations of quickest economies

a13 278

… as causes disposing our loci,

a9 106

but someone before him
is counting for him
unless it happens /
that the instant has him
completely absorbed in that someone:

csp 222

membral loopings

csp 316

of some unexpected person taking part in one’s expected

csp 102

… and to pulse
Happening together.

a12 126

… , magnanimously ours,

csp 251

I am no longer myself

a24 760

But the simultaneous
The diaphanous, historical
In one head.

csp 73

my dictionaries—heart

a14 335

Events listening to their own tremors,

a6 27

All the questions answered with their own words

csp 223

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