Z-siteA Companion to the Works of Louis Zukofsky
CZ Works composed after LZ’s death — Introductory notes
Following her husband’s death in May 1978, Celia assembled a number of works that were both extensions of and homages to their collaborative relationship. Only American Friends was published before she died just two and a half years after Louis, but she prepared typescripts for three further works and was in negotiations with The Stinehour Press when her own final illness cut these efforts short. These works are: 1) a bibliography of LZ, which presumably would have updated the bibliography she published with Black Sparrow Press in 1969; 2) L.Z.’s notes to 80 flowers, a handful of pages combining notes by LZ with her own comments and additions; and 3) Marginalia by Louis Zukofsky. In addition, she also put together a hand-made book entitled 1939-1978, the years of their marriage, which consisted of a short quote or two from LZ’s work for each year.
As was the case with American Friends, the three works for which she prepared typescripts were intended to be published under her own imprint, C.Z. Publications, Inc., and printed by The Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont, who had produced 80 Flowers in a very limited (80 copies) letterpress edition in 1978. The latter book, printed in in a high quality but austerely plain presentation, was taken as the design model for Celia’s subsequent works — the details are given on the end page of American Friends.
American Friends (1979)
American Friends is Celia’s coronal to her husband in the form of a Zukofskian reading of and with Zukofsky. CZ initiated discussion about its printing with The Shinehour Press in August 1978, just a few months after LZ’s death, and by June the following year she received the edition of 1500 copies, most of which never made it out of the boxes.
L.Z.’s notes to 80 flowers (dated 22 Oct. 1978)
Most of LZ’s notes are dated 30 Sept. 1974, except for the final sentence which was extracted from a separate but accompanying note dated 19 Dec. 1974, just before LZ began composing the 80 Flowers poems at the very end of that year. Celia added her remarks which reveal some of the personal dimensions of the work. Celia was the gardener of the family in more senses than just the literal. She also added the catalog of brief quotations related to relevant numbers, extrapolating from suggestions in parts of LZ’s notes she did not include:
As to “40 words” cf. Old Testament; tetraktys (‘A’-19 p166 of “A” 13-21, Cape or Paris Review edtn.) Also adding integers 4 + 0 = 4. Eight lines = 2 x 4 (“two-by-fours” ‘I’s (pronounced eyes[)]’ p. 218 All, Norton Library edtn [CSP 215]). Eight 8-line songs per year would = 8² = 64, and adding integers again = 10 (years); 8 x 10 years = 80 and again adding integers 8 + 0 = 8 (cf ‘A’-8 pp53 and 98 re. the number 8, “A” 1-12, Paris Rev. Edtn or Cape Edtn).
[Michele Leggott quotes and annotates a copy of this note in her Reading Zukofsky’s 80 Flowers (1989): 13-14, although I have transcribed the note as it appears in LZ’s final notebook, which was unavailable to Leggott].
With regard to these lists of numerical quotations as suggestive paths for reading, it is worth remembering that Celia was primarily responsible for the index to “A”, both instigating the idea and carrying it out, which LZ pruned. In the surviving typescript, Celia penciled in the sources beside each quotation taken mostly from “A”, although there is no clear indication that these were intended to be included in the final printed work. I have listed the sources keyed to the current standard text of “A” on a final page for the curious reader.
The second note, from which Celia took only the final sentence, is of interest in its entirety:
Definitely use thyme: (pronounced time) and thread the play of sound on both words thru the other 80 flowers, in the opening epigraph poem. (e.g. tread a measure, tread, cf birds — grows by the rose’ (LZ) “trees budding fire . . ” (Isaac D’Israeli)) thus making with the opening epigraph, 81 poems. (Adding integers, 8 + 1 = 9, The Muses etc). Let time determine the book sequence of the 80 — and their “order”— that is the chronology of their writing. [Again, Leggott quotes this note from a later copy (17)].
LZ copied out these notes into his loose-leaf notebook and placed them before the final fair copy versions of 80 Flowers, along with a bibliography of botanical sources he used and instructions about the printing of the book. Although he explicitly noted that the plan and notes were not to be included in the book publication, he seems to have put together something of a personal augmented holograph version of the volume.
The lowercase “flowers” in Celia’s title is consistent with her typescript and is how she regularly spells the title elsewhere, although LZ routinely capitalizes the title which is how it appears in the printing of the book. Celia’s typescript has been followed in two instances where in the quotations from “A”, she has slightly deviated from Louis’ text, although presumably these were inadvertent:
from “A”-18/393, “to” has been added to the line: “eight words a line for love.”
from “A”-19/419, “holy holy” is a separate line on its own.