a note from my MA on Zukofsky

Zukofksy’s “scientific definition of poetry” asks for “the intellect ordering events at once outside and in the head or whatever impinges on it anatomically” (Prepositions p), and it accounts for the his poems’ elusiveness (Prepositions p), how the experience of his poetry can only be supplemented, not explained, by structural or prosodic etc. analysis, which is beside the point (Prepositions p), the music of the poem. Zukofsky’s poetry is ordered and ordered by music (see Upper Limit Music). Take e.g. this poem of his, ‘Ferry’ (Collected Short Poetry p):

Gleams, a green lamp
In the fog:
Murmur, in almost
A dialogue

Siren and signal
Siren to signal.

Parts the shore from the fog,
Rise there, tower on tower,
Signs of stray light
And of power.

Siren to signal
Siren to signal.

Hour-gongs and the green
Of the lamp.

Plash. Night. Plash. Sky.

So as an example, I think the first ‘plash’ sounds evocatively (the immediate consonance with the /p/ of ‘lamp’) deep (over shadowed by a typographic consonance with ‘Hour-gongs’), the second whimsically (it repeats!) open (is the song over?).