Mina Loy

“Mina Loy: (Born Mina Gertrude Lowy; 1882-1966) English poet and painter. Daughter of a Hungarian Jewish father and English Protestant mother, her first avocation was art. During her years in Florence (1906-1916) she was immersed in Italian Futurism. Loy gradually disassociated herself from the movement as it became increasingly fascist; a number of early satires take aim at the ‘Futurist genius’ as an example of male suprematism. Her first published work appeared in Alfred Stieglitz’s magazine Camera Work and Carl Van Vechten’s Trend (1914). Her controversial work ‘Love Songs for Johannes’ were considered shocking for their frank expression of female sexuality. In New York, she met Arthur Cravan, an infamous Dadaist “poet-boxer.” Divorcing her first husband, she married Cravan in Mexico City, with whom she had one child. Cravan later disappeared in Mexico and was never found. Her first collection of poems, Lunar Baedeker, appeared in 1923, and she did not publish another one until 1958 (Lunar Baedeker and Time Tables). Her work is distinguished by a satiric and feminist sensibility, an unusual polysyllabic and abstract diction, alliteration, internal and slant rhymes, and a combination of the image with the with the epigram. Some of her poems convey rage at the injustices done to women, the poor, and the homeless. Late in life she became more and more reclusive. Her collected poems, The Last Lunar Baedeker, appeared in 1982.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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