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Peris is Livery: libérez l'abat-jour

The Poet

      Mina Loy's poems are brazen, honest, and sophisticated. The subjects of her poems range from the process of giving birth to isolation that comes along with intelligence to feminist concerns.
      Her poetic style is unique. Her word choice, for example, challenges the reader since many of the words are archaic and obscure. Not only that, but when looking at the context of the poem, one can quickly see that the piece calls for the second or third meaning of the word. Therefore, the reader is challenged to search for the meaning of things and message of the poem. This search can only be ended by careful consideration, examination, and reference of a dictionary.
      Loy also alludes to other works, which allows the unerudite reader to further thier knowledge of mythology, and British literature. This practice...the looking up of words, the examination of the context, the reference to other literary works, not only allows the reader to enhance thier breadth of knowledge, but it also allows the reader to participate in the active pursuit of meaning, which is the true essence of learning. Despite Loy's dislike for the teaching profession, she is the ultimate teacher. A secondary analysis would reveal the depth of meaning in Loy's poems. A cursory glance reveals little. One must dig deep to feel the caverns of meaning in these poems.

The Painter

      As an artist, Mina Loy considered herself a true painter, and poet only by accident. This is a natural supposition, since her early education focused on art. She studied in Munich under the tutelage of Augustus John. She later studied at the Académie Colarossi, in Paris, which lead to her show at the renowned Salon d'Automne.
      These steps are not surprising, since they fall right in line with Loy's character. The Académie Colarossi, for example, was one of the few schools at the time that would accept women students. Furthermore, they allowed female students to paint nude male model. This progressive school, the alternative to the federal École des Beaux Arts institute also became a catalyst for Loy: She changed her birth name, Mina Gertrude Lowy, to Mina Loy and met her future husband, fellow art student, Stephen Haweis.
      Her art work, founded in Impressionism, was expressed through watercolors. After her formal education, she was influenced by the Futurist, Dada, and Surrealist movements. By the time Loy evolved and accepted herself as a writer, her art work had also changed shape. She began to create 'rooms' or collages, using garbage that she found in back alleys. She also created intricate lampshades.

The Period

      Today, Mina Loy is accepted into the cannon of British Literature as being one of the 19th century’s greatest modernist poets. This acceptance,however, is spoken with a bit of trepidation and remorse. For, in her lifetime, Loy had not been singled out and applauded for her poetic abilities. Instead, Loy wrote boldly about the plagues that existed in her society, standing strongly against the empirical body that would later "accept" her.
      Loy embodied the modernist ideas of her time, and was considered a perfect representation of the "New Woman." Her avant-garde style and fearlessness to speak out against poor conditions and ill conceived ideologies of society typified her genre.
      Loy was accepted by fellow avant garde expatriate of the time, specifically those affiliated with Gertrude Stein's salon. It was at this time in Loy's life that she had an affair with the leader of the Futurists, Filippo Marinetti. She also had an affair with Giovanni Papini, another member of the Futurist movement. Her writing exploded during this time period, as she relied upon her love affairs for inspiration. However when the Futurists turned Fascists, Loy moved back to America. She divorced Haweis as well.
      In America, she was accepted by the Greenwich Village bohemian circuit, and helped to begin the magazine Others. She acted with Provincetown Players and published in Camera Work, Trend, and Rogue.
      This period influenced the remainder of Loy's artistic life, for it was when she met Arthur Craven, a poet boxer. Loy would later move to Mexico with him. The couple lived in poverty, and Craven even suggested that they kill themselves. When offered this remedy, Loy could only ask him how they could do that, when they had so much left to talk about. Craven sailed away, in search of help and money, never to return. Loy spent the rest of her life looking for him.
      Eventually Loy returned to America, published her first book, and continued to work until her death. However, She never gave up the hope that he would return.