Celia Thaew Zukofsky (1913-1980)

American Friends by Celia Zukofsky – originally published 1979, available online

 

American Friends is Celia’s coronal to her husband in the form of a Zukofskian reading of and with Zukofsky. The book was self-published in 1979 as a fine press edition printed by the Stinehour Press, who had printed Louis’ final book, 80 Flowers, the previous year. Celia finished work on a third volume to be printed by the same press consisting of samples of Louis’ marginalia, but in the end this was not published.

 

While CZ’s involvement in some of LZ’s major projects, particularly Catullus and “A”-24, is well-known, the full extent and range of her collaborative activities is not widely appreciated, which no doubt is partially due to her own propensity, as depicted in Little, to remain in the background. As a preliminary gesture towards a greater acknowledgement of CZ’s presence in LZ’s work, the following chronologically lists her more public projects and contributions:

 

1940

The First Half of “A”-9, mimeograph edition produced by CZ.

1958

Barely and widely produced and published by CZ.

1962

16 Once Published selected by CZ.

1963

Bottom: on Shakespeare, volume 2 consisting of CZ’s score for Shakespeare’s Pericles.

1963

Musical setting for “Motet” included in I’s (pronounced eyes).

1965

“A” Libretto, consisting of a selection of passages from “A”.

1969

Catullus translated by CZ and LZ.

1969

A Bibliography of Louis Zukofsky. Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press.

1970

Autobiography with musical settings by CZ composed during period 1940-1952, and it is these poems she chose to set that determined the selection in this volume.

1972

“A”-24 entirely selected and arranged by CZ; presented to LZ in 1968 as a birthday present.

1978

Index to “A”,which was instigated and compiled by CZ and pruned by LZ.

1979

American Friends. New York: C.Z. Publications. A juxtaposition of quotations from LZ’s works with those from various American writers.

1980

A Test of Poetry reprinted by C.Z. Publications.

 

Beyond the Bibliography, CZ did an enormous amount of recording and cataloging of LZ’s own and related work, including the preparation of materials for the LZ archive at the University of Texas, meticulously keeping track of all publications, readings, commentaries on and mentions of LZ, and cataloging his personal library.

 

In addition, CZ compiled a work entitled “1939-1978,” the years of their marriage, which selected a brief quotation or two from LZ’s work for each year, which was published as a facsimile in fin 17 (juillet 2003): 50-72, with an introduction by Mark Scroggins. She also prepared a typescript, Louis Zukofsky’s Notes to 80 Flowers (dated 22 Oct. 1978) that apparently was intended to be printed by Stinehour Press, which had produced both 80 Flowers and American Friends. At the time of her death, CZ had more or less finished a selection of LZ’s marginalia.