The Forgotten Futurist: Mina Loy’s ‘Songs to Joannes’

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle analyses ‘Songs to Joannes’, a little-known work of avant-garde modernist poetry

Modernist poetry, at least as it’s usually taught on university survey courses and as it’s fixed in the popular imagination, is something of a closed shop: not just because of its perceived elitism (although, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, this can be overstated), but because modernist poets writing in English (whether in the US or in Britain) tend to be configured as a small group of Chosen Ones.

We have T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and perhaps some of the UK-based imagists (H. D., Richard Aldington); over in the US, there are William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Marianne Moore. The modernist ‘canon’ is more of a cannonette.

Read more