Celia Thaew Zukofsky (1913-1980)

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

 

Louis and Celia Zukofsky always thought of their relationship in collaborative terms, and the latter was involved with her husband’s work from early in their marriage. If this implies Celia’s acceptance of a subordinate role in their collaborative projects, it has to be acknowledged this was the case and in most instances Celia was content to be a silent partner. The exceptions are her musical setting of Shakespeare’s Pericles, which became the second volume of Bottom:on Shakespeare—although it was conceived, composed and finished as a separate project well before Louis ever thought of conjoining it with his own—and Catullus for which she was co-author. Nonetheless her co-participation was considerable, most obviously with Catullus and “A”-24, but also the Autobiography, the selection of short poems, 16 Once Published, and the publication of Barely and widely, in addition to various smaller projects. 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 consists of CZ’s score for Shakespeare’s Pericles.

1963          Musical setting for “Motet” included in I’s (pronounced eyes).

1965          “A” Libretto, 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; the poems she chose
                     to set determined the selection for this volume.

1972          “A”-24 entirely selected and arranged by CZ; presented to LZ in 1968 as a birthday present.

1973         “Mirror Canon,” a musical setting for LZ’s Anew 29 (“Glad they were there”), published in 
                    
Counter/Measures 2 (Bedford, MA).

1978          Index to “A”, which was instigated and compiled by CZ, then pruned by LZ.

1979          American Friends. New York: C.Z. Publications.

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.

 

After LZ’s death in May 1978, CZ survived her husband by only two and a half years, but she completed a number of projects that were both homages to and extensions of her husband’s work and their collaborations. Besides American Friends, she completed three works she also planned to publish with Stinehour Press in the same format. These include a book of LZ marginalia, a small work of just half a dozen pages entitled Louis Zukofsky’s Notes to 80 Flowers and a bibliography, which would bring her bibliography published by Black Sparrow Press in 1969 up to date. In addition, CZ compiled a hand-made book entitled “1939-1978,” the years of their marriage, which selects a brief quotation or two from LZ’s poetry for each year, which was published as a facsimile in fin 17 (juillet 2003): 50-72, with an introduction by Mark Scroggins. It is expected that the marginalia volume and the Notes to 80 Flowers will be made available in the near future.