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:



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


Barely and widely produced and published by CZ.


16 Once Published selected by CZ.


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


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


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


Catullus translated by CZ and LZ.


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


Autobiography with musical settings by CZ composed during period 1940-1952; the poems she chose to set determined the selection for this volume.


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


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


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


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


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 only survived her husband by 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.