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This review is taken from PN Review 239, Volume 44 Number 3, January - February 2018.

Cover of Poetic Salvage, Reading Mina Loy
Gerry McGrathWoman, Poet

Tara Prescott, Poetic Salvage, Reading Mina Loy (Bucknell University Press) £54.95
The New York Times obituary for Joella Synara Haweis Levy Bayer who died in 2004 at the age of 96 mentions that her father was a painter and her mother, Mina Loy, was a ‘noted poet’. With brevity comes no little recognition. In truth Loy was known, if not exactly celebrated, in her lifetime. Ezra Pound was an early admirer, responding to her imagistic blend of high-mindedness and linguistic verve, a style that would develop over time into a kind of sui generis ‘democratic modernism’, accessible, daring, but also accidental. In 1903 she left London where she had been an art student and moved to Paris with her husband, Stephen Haweis. There she met and befriended many of the key figures of European and World Modernism, including Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Brancusi and Wyndham-Lewis. She knew Picasso, Apollinaire; she became entangled with Italian Futurism in Florence under Marinetti, from which she later distanced herself, turned off by macho elements in the movement. She wrote a feminist manifesto and became a lifelong convert to Christian Science. Moving to New York in 1916, she worked as an actress and made the acquaintance of William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore and Man Ray. The list of her associations wherever she went is sparkling. In 1923, having returned to Paris with her two surviving children, she published her first volume of poetry, Lunar Baedeker. Yvor Winters, reviewing her in Dial magazine, remarked that her work had an ‘inherently unyielding quality’ that could strike one cold, a prescient comment, one with which Tara ...


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