Zukofsky (1904-78) is the great musician of difficulty in the American modernist band: words, in his poetry, are motes of...

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Zukofsky (1904-78) is the great musician of difficulty in the American modernist band: words, in his poetry, are motes of magnetized dust swirling in light. His prose is slighter, best enjoyed on the terms of the rather precious connoisseurship it demands. The major work here is the novella, ""Little,"" about a child prodigy modeled after Zukofsky's own violin virtuoso son, Paul (who provides an afterword here). It's a fey and airy piece, funny for its Yiddish-based names--von Chulnt, Verchadet, Dreykup (a portrait of Ezra Pound)--and its light comedy supporting the trials of art-making among the vulgarians. But story or character is less than secondary: what Zukofsky the poet stays solely interested in here are the turns in the course of any given sentence-""He saw a frail lady uppermost in mauve gauze, head wobbling at first, cheeks rouged into two small suns that with the frenzied decisiveness of a pinwheel on its stick whirred quickly past three oblivious parishoners to the seat beside him."" Bagatelles.

Pub Date: May 15, 1990

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dalkey Archive

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1990