Annotated “Songs to Joannes”

By Jacqueline Kari


handwritten draft of Loy's love songs
Mina Loy, Love Songs I (1915). Carl Van Vechten Papers. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Inspired by “The Cantos Project” for Pound and the several annotated versions of Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” “The Annotated ‘Songs to Joannes’” offers students of Mina Loy’s work a gloss of the surgically precise language deployed in her 34-part poem sequence, “Songs to Joannes.” Capable of bewildering even the most careful reader, Loy’s quintessentially Modernist work collages various lexicons (medical, biological, slang, etc.) and referents; these annotations are designed to serve as a tool of entry into the poems, providing definitions contemporary to the Songs’ publication, as well as additional textual information, hyperlinked for easy interaction. “The Annotated ‘Songs to Joannes’” enables fellow “cerebral foragers” of Loy’s work to parse the poems’ careful language as users build their own individual readings and responses.

Jacqueline Kari is a doctoral candidate in contemporary American poetry and international Modernism at the University of Georgia. She is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and currently serves as Assistant to the Editors at The Georgia Review.