“A”-24

24 Dec. 1966 – 24 May 1967 first version; final version complete March 1968
 

“A”-24 was assembled by CZ as L.Z. Masque as a gift to LZ, who promptly decided it would stand as the finale to “A” as a whole, although he had yet to write “A”-22 and -23. As the prefatory note states, the text is entirely quoted from LZ’s major works in a polyvocal arrangement. CZ’s brief account of its composition and anointment as “A”-24 is given in “Commemorative Evening” (25). Although it is usually stated that CZ presented the L.Z. Masque to LZ as a surprise present on its completion in 1968, there exists a note dated 1 Feb. 1967 indicating he was well aware of the project and its nature and that he was already drafting a possible dedicatory preface for it (HRC 4.11).

 

Originally the music CZ selected included Frederic Chopin’s Prelude no. 4, op. 28, François Couperin’s Huitième Ordre, Girolamo Frescobaldi’s Corrente Prima, Joseph Haydn’s Air and William Byrd’s 22 variations on Walshingham, but at PZ’s suggestion she reworked the selection using Georg Friedrich Händel’s Harpsicord Suites (Henderson 115).

 

“A”-24 was published by Grossman as a single volume in 1972, in which what is now the tail-piece to CZ (806.10-17) appeared as the preface. Quartermain argues that LZ intended this preface to serve as a “transition from ‘A’-23” (Disjunctive Poetics 207, 214), although it was completed (27 Sept. 1969) well before LZ began composing “A”-22 & -23. Since LZ was able to check the proofs of the complete “A”, there seems little reason to assume its final placement at the end of “A”-24 is unauthorized. The notebooks for “A”-22 & -23 contain quite a few varying ideas about possible endings for “A”-23 and the transition to “A”-24, but it is difficult from these notes to conclude on what he finally decided other than the arrangement as published. Undoubtedly this preface, which short as it is went through many drafts over several years, was originally intended as a preface and potential transition, but it seems equally appropriate as a final word, even if its placement between two indexes seems unfortunate and renders it rather out-of-sight.

“A”-24 has been performed a number of times:

1) On 14-23 June 1973, along with Arise, Arise, at the Cubiculo on West 51st Street, NYC and attended by LZ. Staged by Maurice Edwards, with Douglas Coe on the harpsichord and spoken by Keith Aldrich, Bill Maloney, Luane Rohrbacher, Helene Friedman, Cordell Reagon and Gary Smith (Davenport, Geography 105).
2) In Feb. 1974 on RTF French radio, Paris, directed by Serge Fauchereau.

3) On 15 Nov. 1978 by Steve Benson, Lyn Hejinian, Carla Harryman, Kit Robinson, and Barrett Watten, with Bob Perelman on piano, at the San Francisco Art Institute. A subsequent performance by the same participants took place in 1979 at the University of California at Davis, and both performances can be heard on the LZ page at PennSound. The first performance was videotaped and is available at The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives, San Francisco State University.

4) On 23 Jan. 2009 the UK premiere at the University of Sussex organized by Richard Parker, performed by Sean Bonney, Ken Edwards, Daniel Kane, Francesca Beasley and Kerry Yong (harpsichord).

 

CZ indicates in her prefatory note that “A”-24 is “centrally motivated” by the drama Arise, Arise, which determines the larger formal structure of the movement: replicating the play’s two acts and nine scenes which are each spoken by one of the nine characters of the play—if, as is plausible, the two Attendants are taken as one symbiotic character. In each scene, the entire dialogue of the designated character is given in the same order as in the play, so that in “A”-24 as a whole the entire dialogue of Arise, Arise is reproduced, but separated out into individual monologues. Generally these monologues are presented continuously, and frequently there is little or no indication of distinctions in moving from one scene of the play to another. Although CZ includes some of LZ’s extensive stage directions, these are much abbreviated from the play’s text. At the time CZ composed “A”-24, Arise, Arise was not readily available since its only publication was in the NYC based little magazine Kulchur 6 (Summer 1962) and would not be published as a book on its own until 1972.

 

With the “Thought” voices, CZ selects a given essay from Prepositions for each scene, except for I.3 where both “William Carlos Williams” and “Ezra Pound” are used together. She uses every essay in the “For” and “With” sections of the original edition of Prepositions (1967), except for “Poetry/For My Son When He Can Read.” CZ condenses without altering LZ’s wording, and in all cases the selections follow the sequence of the essay, with one exception in I.5 where she draws on the description of the monument Henry Adams constructed for his wife’s grave, and eventually his own as well, at the point it is mentioned in the main chronological presentation of the essay.

 

For the “Story” voices, CZ draws on the volume It Was, published by Origin Press in 1961 and including: “It Was,” “A Keystone Comedy,” “Ferdinand” and “Thanks to the Dictionary”—all of which had been composed in the early 1940s except “Thanks to the Dictionary,” which was worked on intermittently through much of the 1930s. CZ does not use “A Keystone Comedy” at all. The first and last scenes of “A”-24 are taken from “It Was” and together reproduce the entire piece. This story had a special significance to LZ and no doubt CZ as well, since it is the most intimate portrayal of the two in all of LZ’s work and depicts their domestic relations in the early days of their marriage in the early 1940s prior to the birth of PZ. In Act I.1, CZ extracts from a theoretical paragraph, from which LZ also drew and reworked as part of his brief introduction to “A” 1-12 (1967). In the final scene CZ uses the rest of the story which predominately describes their domestic relations. In the rest of the scenes, CZ predominately draws on “Ferdinand” but often cutting in passages from “Thanks to the Dictionary.” Unlike the “Thought” voices and the use of “It Was,” there is no attempt to follow the sequential presentation of “Ferdinand” and there is a good deal of jumping around in the selections.

 

With the “Poetry” voices, for the most part CZ selected a passage or passages from a single movement of “A” for each scene, but there are a number of variations: I.4 uses passages from the first three movements of “A” and, uniquely, circles back to the initial selection; I.5 repeats a single line from the end of “A”-8 at the bottom of every third page; II.4, the concluding scene, quotes the famous poetics passage from “A”-6 that was subsequently incorporated into “Program: ‘Objectivists’ 1931” (Prep+ 189), then quotes all of the seminal “A”-7 and finally the complete “A”-20 which is itself arranged from works by PZ.

 

The following list simply augments the Index to “A”-24 that CZ appended to the movement (804-806), specifying pages and indicating roughly distinct passages from which CZ has selected in given works—in the case of Arise, Arise this indicates the separate scenes from which a given character’s speech has been taken.

 

Act I.1

Thought:

“A Statement for Poetry” (Prep+ 20); leaving out parenthetical remark: “(which incidentally poems perhaps never reach”)”

Drama (Cousin):

566-568 Arise, Arise (“I came thru there…Steak—steak—steak—”) (30-33)

568-569 (“How  do you catch such  bird…catch such a bird”) (37, 41)

569-571 (“Poor me!…where can I curl up!”) (45-46) [the stage direction: “(shrugs his shoulders and starts to move off” apparently are not in printed text]

Story:

“It Was” (CF 183)

Poetry:

“A”-12 (231-232)

 

I.2

Thought:

“An Objective” (Prep+ 17)

Drama (Nurse):

574-579 Arise, Arise (“Twit, twit(she shuts the door))” (4-8)

579-580 (“Excuse me…his skin appeared burnished”) (18-21)

580-581 (“Poor fellow…bit of window pane”) (26)

581-582 (“1910, I believe…Which, by the bye?”) (30-32)

582-583 (“Greetings!…we invite you both”) (40-42)

Story:

574-580 “Ferdinand” (“A day in May…She had left”) (CF 205-206)

580-582 “Ferdinand” (“He looked at his watch…Voices reached him”) (CF 212)

582-583 “Ferdinand” (“I care for nobody…day to day . . . ”) (CF 244)

Poetry:

“A”-15 (361-363)

 

I.3

Thought:

594-596 “William Carlos Williams” (“Fact—impels from incident…it makes for honesty—”) (Prep+ 53)

596-600 “Ezra Pound” (“what construction…need not falsify the catalog”) (Prep+ 73)

600-607 “Ezra Pound” (“All new subject matter… labelled and dissassociated”) (Prep+ 77)

Drama (Father):

586-589 Arise, Arise (“They do not return…will wake”) (3-4)

589-593 (“She has been so much myself…his face buried in his hands”) (16-18)

593-599 (“Coming!…to force submission”) (19-22)

599-600 (“(now walks listlessly)…feeding lately”) (26)

600-601 (“What year is it?…A spectre is haunting Europe”) (30-33)

601-608 (“The right to mourn…Don’t you?”) (38-42)

608-610 (“Everybody happy…we have this hand”) (50-51)

Story:

587-590 “Ferdinand” (“The next moment nothing mattered…for being there”) (CF 214)

590-594 “Ferdinand” (“Still, he imagined…levelling all grounds of difference”) (CF 224)

594 “Ferdinand” (“He awoke…he could not recall”) (CF 247)

595 “Ferdinand” (“For once his procedure…and set out”) (CF 235)

596-602 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“The lanes all led past the streams…imaginary small ropes”) (CF 267-268)

602 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“So that they glided…footrest to footrest”) (CF 269)

602 “Ferdinand” (“He passed the shabby outskirts…who had come home”) (CF 235-236)

Poetry:

“A”-11 (124-125)

 

I.4

Thought:

HIM” (Prep+ 84-85)

Drama (Girl):

612-613 Arise, Arise (“How many times…it’s your birthday”) (6-10)

613-617 (“(tending a bed of flowers)…forgive me”) (11-15)

617-619 (“Have we heart…so much blacker than he”) (25)

620 (“(seated on the garden bench)…Shall we go to her?”) (29-34)

620-625 (“I’ll say there is no sign…Would you?”) (35-41)

625-632 (“(rises, steps over an obstacle)…over her gravestone”) (43-48)

632-634 (“Some dead. Some alive…They are beautiful”) (50-53)

Story:

613-617 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“She stood among the very numerous…the curls of his hair”) (CF 279-280)

617-620 “Ferdinand” (“All at once he was aware…of her entire body”) (CF 254)

620-625 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“Now he sits far enough…does not have to ask”) (CF 282)

625-626 “Ferdinand” (“He had isolated himself…speak to her”) (CF 261)

627-631 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“love’s beginnings…a Body—shines”) (CF 281)

Poetry:

612 “A”-3 (“Automobiles speed…No meter turns”) (9)

612 “A”-3 (“The song reaches home / Here are your dead”) (11)

613-623 “A”-2 (I walked on Easter Sunday…The song out of the voices”) (8)

626-630 “A”-1 (The next day the reverses…disguised on streets—“) (4-5)

632-633 “A”-3 (Automobiles speed…A broken stanchion”) (9, 11)

 

I.5

Thought:

[parenthetical stage directions are from Arise, Arise and belong with the D voices]

638-646 “Modern Times” (“Celluloid permitted him only…making its demand in existence”) (Prep+ 57-58)

646-664 “Modern Times” (“of people in the masks…laughably intelligent”) (Prep+ 59-60)

669-678 “Modern Times” (“In the sportsmanship of the montage…found in actual events themselves”) (Prep+ 60-61)

678-679 “Modern Times” (“There exists probably…keeping a pace) (Prep+ 63)

Drama (Attendants):

638-643 Arise, Arise (“(Attendants, one with a duster…Thanks, boss”) (8-10)

643-651 (“One need not say…That falleth on the spray”) (11-16)

651-654 (“Coming!…Step! Step!”) (18-22)

654-660 (“I am in your dreams…Time out!”) (23-26)

660-661 (“It’s purely a question of advertising…les forçats de la faim!”) (30-33)

661-670 (“On your grave…has become common property”) (35-42)

670-678 (“I beg your pardon…Sorry—she died?”) (45-49)

678-679 (“To May First!…our silence find its end?”) (50-52)

Story:

640-645 “Ferdinand” (“he made up his mind…free relation landing”) (CF 214-215)

647-649 “Ferdinand” (“Almost any street…led him unerringly”) (CF 223)

651-670 “Ferdinand” (“His acquaintances were a varied lot…when he thought about it deeply”) (CF 219-222)

673-679 “Ferdinand” (“Not far off…end of his tenure”) (CF 224-225)

Poetry:

“A”-8 (“Voice a voice blown, returning as May” [repeated throughout this scene]) (104)

 

II.1

Thought:

Golgonoozà” (Prep+ 41-44); the final line of this scene, which extends beyond the score (701), is from this Blake piece.

Drama (Mother):

682-691 Arise, Arise (“When I arrived in Canada…One moment”) (1-4)

691-694 (“The whole earth lies dead…our own earth selves”) (16-17)

694-696 (“My silence was with you…Where are you all?”) (19-22)

696-697 (“It is lovely here…Give me yours”) (23-24)

697-700 (“Ours? If a morsel…What else can I say”) (30-33)

700-701 (“Today the floor…for the first time”) (52-53)

Story:

682-685 “Ferdinand” (“He had talked theory…to a peace it never had”) (CF 230)

685-686 “Ferdinand” (“Even if he wanted to go home…which he could not answer”) (CF 231-232)

686-696 “Ferdinand” (“They had sauntered…And continued:”) (CF 262-263)

696-699 “Ferdinand” (“A squirrel with only one eye…the dead body of his mother”) (CF 208)

699 “Ferdinand” (“Suddenly the little theatre went dark…he could not see them”) (CF 263)

Poetry:

682-689 “A”-18 (“Here an old woman weeps…come back with the others’”) (400)

690-698 (“‘Never fear we’ll be found…won’t shadow their living’”) (403-404)

699-701 (“walked at night the streets…almost gay but empty”) (404-405)

 

II.2

Thought:

704-710 “The Effacement of Philosophy” (“Spinoza for all his resignation…on the subject”) (Prep+ 56)

711 (“Like the modern composer…even discordant”) (Prep+ 55-56)

717-718 (“Many years ago…as miserable as themselves’”) (Prep+ 56)

Drama (Doctor):

704-711 Arise, Arise (“(showing his face at the office door)I’ll call it a day!”) (5-7)

711-713 (“’Sentimentally I am disposed…lasted longer than delight”) (18-21)

713-714 (“Then what are you in mourning for…Please, my cue!”) (25)

714-715 (“It is plain, moreover…Democracy—bleachery!”) (30-33)

715-720 (“Greetings!…those who sleep here are ours”) (40-42)

Story:

704 “Ferdinand” (“The sensation of relief from anxiety was gone”) (CF 238)

704-705 “Ferdinand” (“The scene of a party…could play records backwards”) (CF 241)

706-718 “Ferdinand” (“He amused them with stories…sign for every law!”) (CF 218-219)

718 “Ferdinand” (“The whole dream must have passed in less than a minute”) (CF 263)

719-720 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“It held in his mind…’of twenty years’”) (CF 279)

Poetry:

“A”-19 (427-430)

 

II.3

Thought:

“Lewis Carroll” (Prep+ 65-66)

Drama (Aunt):

722-730 Arise, Arise (“Nephew, you’re a witness…with your aunt! Come!”) (29-33)

730-732 (“(rummages in pocketbook)…now I go”) (39)

Story:

722-723 “Ferdinand” (“He stepped out…wished he knew its name”) (CF 263)

723-725 (“He heard his name pronounced…in the next twenty years”) (CF 213)

725-729 “Ferdinand” (“If I tell you that we fled…not there to see us suffer?”) (CF 237-238)

729-732 “Thanks to the Dictionary” (“After the chilling and slighting…a synod without preferment”) (CF 276).

Poetry:

“A”-6 (21-22)

 

II.4

Thought:

734-742 “Henry Adams” (“Detachment and the poet’s receptivity…lips and eyes”) (Prep+ 87-89)

742-745 (“’I write and I read…not evolution but change”) (Prep+ 92-93)

745-746 (“Without signing his name…early law and custom”) (Prep+ 95)

746-750 (“He prepared himself…in after years”) (Prep+ 96-97)

750-753 (“He had a rare type of mind…mastery of an art”) (Prep+ 98-99)

753-768 (“‘Sooner or later…was to be fecund’”) (Prep+ 99-102)

768-796 (“At that time…thenceforth for life’”) (Prep+ 104-108)

797-798 (“He lived it all thru…death in a monument—”) (Prep+ 108)

799-802 (“‘a face of singular fascination…and yet is silent?’”) (Prep+ 129-130)

803 (“To the heart…yet to be written”) (Prep+ 108 [cont. from preceding])

Drama (Son):

734-739 Arise, Arise (“‘At the round earth’s imagined corners…leave the keys with me”) (1-4)

739-745 (“You’ll wait for me, father?…till my mother died”) (4-10)

745-759 (“(tends the garden bed…Each pale corolla is love’s brief”) (11-18)

759-760 (“Father! Kisses!…and you weigh nothing”) (19-22)

760-763 (“I am no longer myself…Mother, do you hear?”) (23-27)

763-770 (“Calm yourself…the bare straw”) (29-34)

770-780 (“A man’s voice…A wedding—did he say where?”) (35-42)

780-796 (“Watch out for the third rail…We’re going to a wedding”) (43-49)

796-803 (“Graced, graced the eyes…New gloves, mother?”) (50-53)

Story:

“It Was” (CF 181-184 [the complete story, aside from the three sentences used in I.1])

Poetry:

734-736 “A”-6 (“Would you persist?…The words— Lost—visible”) (22-23)

736-741 “A”-6 (“Thus one modernized / His lute…and contemporary particulars”) (24)

741-784 “A”-7 (“Horses: who will do it…horses, manes, words”) (39-42)

784-803 “A”-20 (“At twenty…makes thee so loved”) (435-436)