The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy

Mina Loy, Author, Roger L. Conover, Editor Farrar Straus Giroux $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-25872-6
Mina Loy's wry, confident inquiries into the nature of men, women and sexuality are a great undiscovered treasure of modernism. Though her work was published beside Eliot's and Pound's in the little magazines of the 1910s and 20s, we are perhaps only now, in the post-feminist '90s, fully equipped to handle it. Through both her work and her transcontinental, bon vivant lifestyle, Loy (1882-1966) defined the ""modern"" woman, a detached, unsentimental, brutally witty creature who called it as she saw it: ""The skin sack/ in which a wanton duality/ packed/ all the completion of my infructious impulses/ something the shape of a man."" Her cool ironies, heady carnality and innovative line placement blew away the remnants of Victorianism that clung to poetry, clearing the way for more up-front, if still unresolvable, relations between the sexes: ""Let them clash together/ From their incognitoes/ In seismic orgasm."" While the extensive textual notes included by Conover, an editor at MIT Press, may seem excessive (one wishes for more of the poetry), his selection also allows the cerebral Loy to emerge as a sophisticated critic-in-verse of contemporaries Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein and others. (July) FYI: FSG will concurrently publish the first full-scale biography of Loy, Becoming Modern (Forecasts, May 6). A fictionalized treatment of Loy's life can be found in Albert J. Guerard's novel The Hotel in the Jungle (Baskerville, Forecasts, Apr. 15).
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-1-85754-326-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-374-52507-1
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4668-9004-6
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