Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


People may not quote LZ in their "blogs".
September 4, 2011 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Far too many people, especially perhaps-innocent grad. students, have been misled into thinking that, in terms of quoting LZ or CZ, they may do what they want, and do not have to worry about me. Paul Zukofsky, son and literary executor of poet Louis Zukofsky, wrote a spirited copyright notice that appears on a site dedicated to his father's work.
posted by Bromius (103 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
“Fair use” is a very-broadly defined doctrine, of which I take a very narrow interpretation, and I expect my views to be respected.

Tell it to a judge. You're a parasite.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2011 [70 favorites]


Yes. He is very incorrect about many many things here. Unless this is clever satire aimed at getting grad students to do more dissertations on LZ out of spite.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


In general, as a matter of principle, and for your own well-being, I urge you to not work on Louis Zukofsky, and prefer that you do not. Working on LZ will be far more trouble than it is worth. You will be far more appreciated working on some author whose copyright holder(s) will actually cherish you, and/or your work. I do not, and no one should work under those conditions.
Unbelievable.
posted by migurski at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2011


His attempt to control the usage of his father's material will come at the expense of the long-term recognition and exploration of the poet's work, making the assets less valuable.

Who wrote that fable about killing the goose that laid the golden eggs? I hope it wasn't Zukofsky, or else I guess I'll be seeing him in court.
posted by hermitosis at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


This is really bizarre. That is not how writing works at all. I don't know what else to say other than, I'm horrified.
posted by Tesseractive at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2011


Rather more horrifying than the rent-seeking is the bald-faced attempt to dictate terms to critics and literary historians. LZ's reputation as a major Modernist has been on a rather meteoric rise the last decade or two — now I know why that hasn't been reflected in a burgeoning field of new critical publications. Though I do know of, as PZ must too, many conference papers and articles that haven't been approved by the estate and whose quotation clearly falls within a saner definition of fair use.

Still, people who don't work in poetry publishing or criticism might be surprised how hard it can be to quote poems in print — if you have any threshhold standard about what proportion of the original you can quote within fair use, many reasonable attempts to do poetry criticism will fall afoul of it.
posted by RogerB at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Meh, an asshole with daddy issues. May the lulz descend upon him with the fury of one thousand trolls.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


Objectivism: you're doing it wrong
posted by Flashman at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


“Fair use” is a very-broadly defined doctrine, of which I take a very narrow interpretation, and I expect my views to be respected.

I feel the same way about driving under the influence of crystal meth
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


what a joke. Not only is he completely ignorant about copyright law and fair use, he is also an idiot in regards to marketing. He thinks he can make a lifetime income from his fathers work?

His father was poet. Not a career known for making their descendants rich. Sure some do, but not a lot. More importantly, like most poets Louis Zukofsky is far from a household name. People that make 'fair use' of his name, people who do work on LZ's life and poems only increase the draw and marketability of those legitimate copyrights that his son holds.
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Having a lot of trouble coming up with the right S/Z joke.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


Objectivism: you're doing it wrong

He's doing it perfectly well, it's just the wrong kind of Objectivism.
posted by theodolite at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having a lot of trouble coming up with the right S/Z joke.
ditto, but I'm imagining it involves some reference to The Death of the Author.
posted by juv3nal at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2011


Is he doing this to somehow punish his father? He sounds hostile to him. And I can't blame him either, if he went around raising children like that.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Unless this is clever satire

How can it not be? These statements seem in conflict:

"no one should work under those conditions."

"the economic survival of my mother, and their son."

Unless he's telling "fair use"-claiming academics to go away but still wants people to license the works for publication and performance. Won't a lack of criticism hurt the market for licensed uses though?
posted by morganw at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2011


he's trying to make money out of his dead dad's poetry?
ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha.

good one.
posted by liza at 11:23 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


So frigging creepy, right up there with the Joyce estate (whose copyright will expire in 3 months in most countries . . . yay!). I think I want my work to enter the public domain when I die. Wonder how one goes about doing that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, this guy just doesn't get it.

Well, maybe he does. I was about to talk about how more and more creators see piracy as promotion, even doing things like putting up torrents of their work on the Pirate Bay. But then I realized that strategy is predicated upon making people aware of your awesomeness for free, in hopes that they'll come back and pick up your next work. And ain't gonna be no more Louis Zukofsky work.

So in the short term maybe it makes sense for Paul Zukofsky to be a hardline bitch about quoting his father's work. In the long term, though? He will either crush any chance of his fathers' work living on into the ages, or if Louis' stuff is awesome enough that people will come back to it once Paul is dead, he will be a nasty footnote to his dad's career.
posted by egypturnash at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2011


Pretty sure he's serious. A while back there was a little campaign urging people to quote Louis Zukofsky on their websites with abandon, just to fuck with his son.

At the time, it occurred to me that maybe that's what the son was hoping for, since I'd never previously heard of Louis Zukofsky.
posted by craichead at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think I want my work to enter the public domain when I die. Wonder how one goes about doing that.
I imagine by putting such a request in your will
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey migursky did you think to get PZ's permission to quote his desire that no one study his father's works? Because if not, he may come all the way from Hong Kong and sue you.

The #1 Google result for [zukofsky poems] contains full text copies of some of his "populer poems," should you care to read them. Depending on how diligent his father was in filing paperwork, it's possible some of his work is in the public domain now.
posted by Nelson at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I forbid so-called electronic "publication". People may not quote LZ in their "blogs".

Big works for a poor man's Ezra Pound.
posted by geoff. at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Won't a lack of criticism hurt the market for licensed uses though?

Well, (1) there is no lack of Zukofsky criticism, his work (especially "A") is important enough that critics will continue to want/need to work on it no matter how horrible Paul is (since they're not making new Pound proteges anymore); and (2) he obviously doesn't really care about the market as much as he cares about controlling the criticism and enforcing vendettas against the critics.
posted by RogerB at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2011


</i>
posted by RogerB at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2011


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Zukofsky
posted by Brian B. at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stopped reading after the second use of "so-called."

The phrase "so-called," in conversation or prose, is a mark of a pissy little douchebag.

This is a holiday weekend for me and I am going to keep better company than that.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


The use of language makes it clear that this man is perfectly educated and well aware of what he is doing. He's doing it to destroy his father's legacy. It's like an anti-Christopher Tolkien. The evil that men does lives after them, as they say.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf."
I wish I were more familiar with Louis Zukofsky's work, so I could find a suitably ironic poem to quote in this situation. It would not be first first time I was sued in a frivolous internet lawsuit.
posted by muddgirl at 11:35 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


5-- I forbid so-called electronic "publication". People may not quote LZ in their "blogs".

6 -- I want a millions dollars.

Did it work? Did it? Huh? Huh?

Damn.
posted by FfejL at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"blogs"

/rolls so-called eyes.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


I think I get it, he posted that with a byline from Hong Kong. He lives in a totalitarian state.

But I read his wikipedia entry and was stunned:

He is also known for his involvement in the removal of Arnold Schoenberg's archive from University of Southern California, based on stringent interpretation of the fair use doctrine in United States copyright law: as 1998, they reside in the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna, Austria.

Yeah, he's done this before and succeeded in destroying a cultural institution. That's why you don't let assholes establish a precedent, you fight them tooth and nail.

But Mr. Zukofsky and the Schoenbergs soon clashed when, several people familiar with the dispute said, the new director [Zukovsky] began quarreling with the staff, shut down the institute's lectures and concerts and encouraged the disbanding of the Friends of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, a 200-member group that raised money for the institute.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


This is like when a company does something outrageous and you want to boycott their products, except you never buy them in the first place.
posted by Quietgal at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


Horses: who will do it? out of manes? Words
Will do it, out of manes, out of airs, but
They have no manes, so there are no airs, birds
Of words, from me to them no singing gut.
For they have no eyes, for their legs are wood,
For their stomachs are logs with print on them;
Blood red, red lamps hang from necks or where could
Be necks, two legs stand A, four together M.
"Street Closed" is what print says on their stomachs;
That cuts out everybody but the diggers;
You're cut out, and she's cut out, and the jiggers
Are cut out. No! we can't have such nor bucks
     As won't, tho they're not here, pass thru a hoop
     Strayed on a manhole — me? Am on a stoop.

-- from Louis Zukofsky, "A"
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2011 [35 favorites]


7. ???
8. Profit
posted by BungaDunga at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having a lot of trouble coming up with the right S/Z joke
ditto, but I'm imagining it involves some reference to The Death of the Author.

Best I can do before breakfast:

This miserly PZ
he makes me quite queasy.
It ought to be easy
to quote L and CZ!
He must be stopped lest he
kill the Z leg'cy.
For an heir this testy
would have quashed S/Z.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:01 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is 2 years old, why is this posted now?
posted by empath at 12:01 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find it funny that he quotes ee cummings in his diatribe. Wonder if he got permission.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2011


Or for a British audience:

The author is dead,
But don't quote LZ
If you write PZ checks
He won't be as vexed
Else the author is dead
and you'll be next!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:04 PM on September 4, 2011


Yeah, a quick Google shows there was a minor internet kerfuffle over this when the notice was posted in 2009. Has there been any actual legal threats or actions since?

Also--check out the FB page.
posted by LarryC at 12:04 PM on September 4, 2011


making the assets less valuable

When I hear the word assets I reach for my revolver.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


LarryC, what's remarkable about the Facebook page? Looks like a reprint of the notice at the website. Am I missing anything?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:09 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Under Copyright's Fedora" -- an interesting analysis of that takedown notice
posted by hungrytiger at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is there nothing which greed cannot ruin?

No, there is not.
posted by Rockear at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2011


charlie don't surf writes "Yeah, he's done this before and succeeded in destroying a cultural institution. That's why you don't let assholes establish a precedent, you fight them tooth and nail."

Was it destroyed? Sounds like the archives just moved to Europe.

empath writes "This is 2 years old, why is this posted now?"

It's still relevant and the poster didn't see it two years ago?
posted by Mitheral at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Didn't someone leave Poetry Magazine hundreds of millions of dollars? I think it would be very nice for Poetry Magazine to announce that they will pay the legal fees of any scholar who is harassed by this nut job. I suspect his threats would turn out to be quite empty if he learned his targets would be defended by someone with very very deep pockets.
posted by jayder at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think that copyright notice was written by a clever person. I take it as a study in reverse psychology, as look at the effect it has had on metafilter. It actually made me give three shits about a long dead poet and his works of drivel.
posted by 517 at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is 2 years old, why is this posted now?

I hadn't heard of this. I'm glad I have now.

Problem?
posted by Trurl at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


It actually made me give three shits about a long dead poet and his works of drivel.

Okay, who's up for starting the All the Good Books Legal Defense fund and mounting a vigorous if legally spurious defense of the copyrights of the entire college curriculum? It sounds like a few dozen well-placed lawsuits against the quotation of art, literature, and philosophy might be enough to make the Internet Contrarian Brigades do an about-face on their philistinism.
posted by RogerB at 12:42 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is not how writing works at all. I don't know what else to say other than, I'm horrified.

Welcome to the world of Intellectual Property! I hope you look forward to composition-method patents and rhyme-scheme-look-and-feel lawsuits.
posted by hattifattener at 12:50 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Parasitic heir of unknown poet attempts to drive pagerank through internet grar, apparently fails. In other news...
posted by Vetinari at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2011


I didn't even know who Zukofsky was before this, but now I'm going to work some of his shit into every thing I write. Sing, horses. Sing while you kiss my ass.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


©2010 by Jeffrey Twitchell-Waas

Heh.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:01 PM on September 4, 2011


Is there nothing which greed cannot ruin?

No, there is not.


Yes, there is.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:11 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


The senior Zukofsky, it should be pointed out, did much of his work through quite intricate collages of the work of others -- in fact, his career can in one light be seen as one of the great meditations on quotation and translation in literature, on what it means to use the work of others. Big sections of "A" are made from quotes, many intricate quotes, mosaic-fashion, like Christian Marclay's The Clock, building an enormously complex new picture from the work of others. Or the early "Poem Beginning 'The'" which is a goofy-but-serious parody of the modernist collage poem, built almost entirely out of citations, including pop songs, contemporary poetry, conversations, and newspapers. His insane, magnificent stunt of a poetic project, the Catullus, was a "homophonic translation" which translated both the meaning and the sounds of the Latin into English, an epic labor of prior art. He theorized his technique as that of "found objects," turning things up and to new purposes: "The work then owns perhaps something of the look of found objects in late exhibits -- which arrange themselves as it were, one object near another -- roots that have become sculpture, wood that appears talisman, and so on."

Doubly sad because his later work runs throughout with so much apparent love for Paul, and his violin-playing, and his childish turns of phrase ... from "A-12": "Wait till they find out / Where you took most of 'your' poetry," LZ writes, quoting, of what PZ said to him. But I suppose the creative impulse, ever building on what came before ("make it new," as LZ's beloved, hateful Pound said), stops now with this dumb nonsense.

Here are marvelous recordings of LZ reading and talking with people throughout his career. Long live the sonorous voice of a writer who was, above all, a superlative reader and quoter!
posted by finnb at 1:31 PM on September 4, 2011 [24 favorites]


The inevitable retaliatory torrent-share of "A" seems not to have a lot of seeders still active (on my cursory search), but the PDF is still available for download through at least one file-sharing site that I could easily find. So in some sense it's true that, in drawing the Internet's wrath, PZ was being directly counterproductive; but given that controlling and suppressing the publication of criticism seems to be PZ's real purpose, not just limiting piracy of the text itself, the circulation of the PDF likely doesn't matter much to him.

Via some chain of links which I can no longer reconstruct I have also discovered that the Poetry Foundation has a nice "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry" (PDF), which PZ and people here might equally well like to read. Section 4, on critical quotation, is particularly unambiguous:
Under fair use, a critic discussing a published poem or body of poetry may quote freely as justified by the critical purpose; likewise, a commentator may quote to exemplify or illuminate a cultural/historical phenomenon, and a visual artist may incorporate relevant quotations into his or her work.
posted by RogerB at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was it destroyed? Sounds like the archives just moved to Europe.

Well he certainly destroyed the existing archive's ability to function, destroying it from the inside, so he could have it moved. This arguably reduced the value of Schoenberg's legacy, perhaps even pushing it out of the culture, just like he's doing with his father's legacy.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:57 PM on September 4, 2011


I didn't even know who Zukofsky was before this, but now I'm going to work some of his shit into every thing I write. Sing, horses. Sing while you kiss my ass.

This made me wonder: are we sure this flamebait isn't a Gawker-esque publicity stunt to drive interest in LZ's poetry (and thereby royalties)?
posted by en forme de poire at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2011


Also:

I can perhaps understand your misguided interest in literature, music, art, etc. I would be suspicious of your interest in Louis Zukofsky, but might eventually accept it. I can applaud your desire to obtain a job, any job, although why in your chosen so-called profession is quite beyond me; but one line you may not cross i.e. never never ever tell me that your work is to be valued by me because it promotes my father. Doing that will earn my life-long permanent enmity. Your self-interest(s) I may understand, perhaps even agree with; but beyond that, in the words of e.e.cummings quoting Olaf: “there is some s I will not eat”.

lol why u mad tho?
posted by en forme de poire at 2:03 PM on September 4, 2011


Well he certainly destroyed the existing archive's ability to function, destroying it from the inside, so he could have it moved.
Well, you're completely misrepresenting the NYT article. Paul Zukofsky was put in charge of the U.S.C institute, and he pissed off the heirs by wanting to take the focus off of Schoenberg himself. The heirs wanted the archives moved because they didn't like that. So to say "so he could have it moved" makes little sense. It sounds like he was involved in taking the documents away from U.S.C, when in fact he was on the other side of the argument.
posted by delmoi at 2:13 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some just woke up thoughts: Junior Zukovsky is an artist in his own right, and this is a pretty amazing piece. It's bureaucratic art. It doesn't explain or satirise or evoke, it's mode is an officious extraction of beauty and a brutal suppression of entropy, which celebrates adversity and contradiction - viz the guy's quoting Cummings quoting Olaf while using the English language, which, fuck off and make your own language, this one's ours. It's the step after The Office and The Pale King and the Tea Party movement and that artist that painted all his receipts for a year. It's Catch-22. It ignites discussion and frustrates and offends and highlights and hints at something deeper, it reflects our officious and litigious society, and it influences hundreds of trivial artistic works (ahaha blog posts and MetaFilter comments).

At least I hope so, because otherwise I feel really really sad for this guy.
posted by doublehappy at 2:17 PM on September 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


the funny part of this to me is that i bought a used paperback copy of "a" for 40 bucks a few years ago as it wasn't even in print - and poor paul didn't see a penny of that, did he?

haven't finished it yet, but i'm sure i will someday
posted by pyramid termite at 2:18 PM on September 4, 2011


I don't think PZ is trying to increase the value of his father's brand. Rather, I think he is trying to sabotage it because he has some serious anger issues toward his father. I'd guess that being a poet LZ didn't leave much of a legacy other than his canon, and PZ resents the hell out of the fact that Dad didn't do something more lucrative like cosmetic surgery. (The bit about taking care of his mother and "doing exactly that" is telling.) Further, Dad couldn't even have the decency to leave him something with possibule future popular interest, like Philip K. Dick did. So this is PZ's bitterly snarky way of "maximizing the value" of his father's legacy by aggressively leaning on and pissing off the only people who find it of interest, and since those are all people who are both like his father and whose respect his father probably valued, he gets a twofer in the getting back at Dad department.
posted by localroger at 2:27 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


So much for what I was going to blog about today.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:45 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


What an obnoxious little prick.

I don't know if he did it specifically as a sort of viral-marketing campaign, but he has at least convinced me to pirate the complete works of his parents (father? I honestly couldn't tell them apart, at the moment).

Rapidshare download finishes in 3... 2... 1...

/ Don't worry, I won't actually read them. But I can now say that I've done my part to piss off this whiny little twit
posted by pla at 2:57 PM on September 4, 2011


this dude is off his rocker. makes me want to write a dissertation on his dad just to spite him.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:03 PM on September 4, 2011


hungrytiger's link is good on the bullying threat of litigation that will likely fail but is too expensive for most folks to fight, and on the likely hates-his-dad stuff:

[T]he “Copyright Notice” is...a self-aware “irascible [and] recalcitrant” rant. It reveals too much about the author himself, such as his apparent daddy issues, (“I hardly give a damn what is said about my father (I am far more protective of my mother)”), to not have been intended as a form of literary speech in itself, separate from any legal warning it may also convey. This becomes most obvious in the following paragraph from the Notice, in which PZ mocks the uselessness of grad students and their dissertations on poetry:
I can perhaps understand your misguided interest in literature, music, art, etc. I would be suspicious of your interest in Louis Zukofsky, but might eventually accept it. I can applaud your desire to obtain a job, any job, although why in your chosen so-called profession is quite beyond me; but one line you may not cross i.e. never never ever tell me that your work is to be valued by me because it promotes my father. Doing that will earn my life-long permanent enmity...
Good lord.

localroger: PZ resents the hell out of the fact that Dad didn't do something more lucrative like cosmetic surgery.

Expanding on doublehappy's comment, PZ is a relatively famous modern classical conductor and violinist (see his Allmusic bio), about as successful as a modern classical player/conductor can be, I'd imagine. Maybe he's still mad about how little money his dad made when he was a kid, but I dunno, seems unlikely that PZ is primarily concerned with raising money at this point.
posted by mediareport at 3:05 PM on September 4, 2011


and poor paul didn't see a penny of that, did he?

There are tons of used Louis Zukovsky books available at AbeBooks for $1 and up, for those who want to check him out without rewarding his son in the process.
posted by mediareport at 3:17 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Schoenberg Archives to Leave U.S.C.
By JUDITH MILLER

Holy crap. Speaking of trolls...
posted by Mcable at 3:26 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


christ, what an asshole
posted by facetious at 3:57 PM on September 4, 2011


Maybe he's still mad about how little money his dad made when he was a kid, but I dunno, seems unlikely that PZ is primarily concerned with raising money at this point.

Well that was kind of my point, this stunt with the copyright notice isn't calculated to make money. It's calculated to poison his father's legacy.
posted by localroger at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2011


On review: And his reason might not be money, although the rant made it kind of seem that way. But it could be something else, such as a total failure to understand his father's work.
posted by localroger at 4:12 PM on September 4, 2011


Ok, so I'm finding myself fascinated by this story, not least because I tend to like the kind of music Paul has focused on in the past (here he is doing a John Cage solo violin piece, here on 4 layered violins, here a wonderfully odd 1960 piece for small ensemble [crank it, it's great], etc). Hell, I probably have him performing or conducting in my record collection somewhere, although his name didn't ring any bells (I tend to focus on composers much more than players).

Anyway, nosing around a bit more I found this interesting biographical essay about his father. It includes a number of instances of Louis using Paul as a subject in his work, which may or may not add interesting information as you come to an opinion about Paul's moronic take on the use of his dad's poems:

Their only son Paul (born 1943) was a child prodigy on the violin; he has gone on to become one of the world's foremost performers and conductors of twentieth-century music. In 1970 Zukofsky would publish a novel, Little/ for careenagers, a roman-à-clef dealing with the upbringing of a young violin prodigy whose parents, not coincidentally, are a poet and a pianist. The novel, graceful, whimsical, and full of verbal wit, paints an exceedingly charming picture of the Zukofskys' domestic life...

"A"-11 is a formal lyric, based on Cavalcanti "Perch' io no spero," and addressed to Zukofsky's wife and child after his death....The "matter" of ["A"-13] is the daily life of the Zukofsky family, including a walk by Paul and Louis across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Duane Street Fire Museum and back to their Brooklyn Heights apartment...."A"-19 follows Paul Zukofsky to Genoa for his participation in the Paganini Competition...

"A"-20 is a "Respond for P.Z.'s tone row / At twenty," and consists simply of a list of the titles of twelve compositions that Paul had written up to the age of twenty, repeated four times in different orders, and a short poem that Paul had written at age nine in response to a poem of Henry VIII's included in A Test of Poetry...


There's also some hearsay/gossip from the first comment at this post at Poetry Foundation:

According to composer Milton Babbitt in 2001, Paul Zukofsky, after a career devoted to performing, as a violin virtuoso, and conducting contemporary American music, “has nothing now,” and, because of health problems, has no longer been able to perform. Maybe he needs the money.

All this just makes me sadder that Paul's chosen to go down this bizarre road, but at least it humanizes him a little more.
posted by mediareport at 4:13 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, meant to add that a couple of months ago Paul was apparently healthy enough to conduct the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (in a program that I would totally have gone to hear if I lived nearby).
posted by mediareport at 4:15 PM on September 4, 2011


All I can think is this is a guy who *really* hates his father.

Frankly, I can't think of a better way for him to make sure that his legacy is completely forgotten.
posted by markkraft at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2011


Yeah, Mcable, that Judith Miller byline jumped out at me, that's why I linked to it instead of any number of equally informative articles. I figured that name would be appreciated by anyone who recognized it. I was also amused by the comment following it, "Christ, what an asshole," its placement makes it unclear if it's aimed at Zukofsky or Miller.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2011


Reads like a classic Portalofevil.com exhibit.
posted by fuq at 4:50 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I quoted Louis Zukofsky in my B.A. thesis, though not a poem but something he said about E. E. Cummings. I kinda wish I had quoted one of his poems now.

On the subject... one aspect I find especially bizarre is that in the midst of his threats he not only misquotes Cummings, but renders his name all in lower-case, which isn't what the poet wanted. Oh that tricky devil, Irony.
posted by Kattullus at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can applaud your desire to obtain a job, any job...

That's cute, considering his blatant desire to avoid getting a job, any job.
posted by BurnChao at 5:44 PM on September 4, 2011


Is Louis CZ that red-headed comedian guy?
posted by cheaily at 6:06 PM on September 4, 2011


IAAL. Or rather, a law professor. And I study copyright law. This has a good chance of ending badly for PZ.

Sooner or later, he will sue someone who is making an obviously fair use of LZ's poems: a critical analysis, short quotations on a blog, etc. Or, even if he doesn't sue, he'll make too many threatening noises (such as the notice itself with its overreaching claims) and find himself on the defending end of a declaratory judgment action brought by a law school clinic that wants to make a point. PZ, thanks to this intransigent attitude, will refuse to settle. Thanks to that same attitude and history of belligerent posts, he'll be profoundly unsympathetic to the judge. The case will go through to judgment for the user, at which point they'll turn around and make a claim for for their attorneys' fees. And bingo: just like the James Joyce estate, he'll find himself on the hook for a quarter-million-dollar check.
posted by grimmelm at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


"Some just woke up thoughts: Junior Zukovsky is an artist in his own right, and this is a pretty amazing piece. It's bureaucratic art. "

This was hilarious, thanks for posting it. I also would like to say that if doublehappy is not correct, doublehappy should be correct, and submit mty request for correction notice to the universe.
posted by illovich at 6:49 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


His father was poet. Not a career known for making their descendants rich. Sure some do, but not a lot.

Do any? Is there anyone out there who is rich because they inherited the rights to a corpus of poetry (and only poetry)? I find it hard to believe that even the most well-known 20th century poets are selling at "keep the trust fund full" levels.
posted by endless_forms at 7:02 PM on September 4, 2011


All the rich living poets I know of didnt get their filthy lucre from poesy. James Fenton is quite rich, but that's from his part in the book for Les Miserables. And Frederick Seidel is rich cause he wouldn't be Frederick Seidel if he weren't rich. Good for them, I say: the world could do with a lot more rich poets and a lot fewer rich other kinds of people.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:22 PM on September 4, 2011


I will cite his copyright notice in many "blogs" and in multiple dissertations and I will not be asking for his permission.

This is going to be fun.
posted by HermanoBluth at 7:37 PM on September 4, 2011


Some would have you believe that the greatest threat to an artist's career is not piracy, but obscurity.

In this spirit, I'd like to ask a sincere question:

Who are these people?
posted by clvrmnky at 8:49 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about American law, but per Singapore law, there is a clear, unambiguous exception for academic purposes: as long as it is academically related, you're allowed to copy / quote up to 10% of a work, or one chapter, whichever is less. We don't quite call it "fair-use" here though, but I think it comes close (in fact, I remember they use another term here, forgot the name though). I'm not sure if "blogs" would fit under that blanket. So at least in Singapore, it is entirely legal to quote / copy any work without permission from the current copyright holders.

I'm also certain it is entirely legal to photocopy or digitalize your own copy as long as you don't redistribute it elsewhere.

Part of my thesis at university involved drawing algorithms etc from a work that was published in 1934, and as far as I know, hasn't been re-published ever again. In fact, even the publishing house is now dead. There was exactly one copy that I could source, a tattered copy from a 94-year-old Vedic pandit who spoke to me only because it just so happened that I was wearing the right religious marks that he approved off that day; different tale that.

So naturally I had to photo-copy that book in totality. Not just because I needed it, but also because I was trying to "rescue" the Vedic pandit's own copy, by offering him a fresh copy with paper that was less tattered. We checked with legal when I did that; while there was the obvious cross-bay issues involved, in that Indian, and not Singaporean, jurisdiction applies here, but even under Singaporean law, I was told that the pandit's own copy was legit, no questions asked; as for mine, I would have had to, sadly, hope that the author had been dead for 50/70 years, for it to be a legal copy.
posted by the cydonian at 9:07 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I assume that every quote in Zukofsky's work http://www.z-site.net/notes-to-prose/Guillaume-Apollinaire-1934.php adheres to this new standard?
posted by clvrmnky at 9:10 PM on September 4, 2011


Louis Zukofsky Recordings
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:21 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's cute, considering his blatant desire to avoid getting a job, any job.

Yeah (on preview, as Mike Mongo just pointed out), he's a pretty well-known violinist/conductor in his own right, with a recording career going back decades. There's something more going on here than "famous person's kid refuses to create anything himself and rides parent's coattails."
posted by mediareport at 9:23 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, woops, that was dad's recording career. But the other point remains.
posted by mediareport at 9:24 PM on September 4, 2011


Right, so I checked: the term I was alluding to earlier is fair-dealing and yes, Hong Kong's laws account for it, as do most jurisdictions in the British Commonwealth.

This, however, doesn't mean that Hong Kong law specifically allows quoting/ copying for academic purposes; while it very well might, I'm too stupid to parse the section I linked to and determine if it does, and to what extent. I'm guessing, though, that it would be similar to what Singapore does.
posted by the cydonian at 9:56 PM on September 4, 2011


The pulling of material pretty much renders this article in Jacket2 useless.
posted by unliteral at 10:04 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I obviously have no idea what he's doing, but I very much doubt that he hates his father, and doubt more strongly that he is simply greedy... or is even "simply" a crank.

I read this, which makes it fairly obvious that a lot of his language in the copyright notice is acidly humorous/ironic/satiric ("your chosen so-called profession"; "your misguided interest in literature, music, art, etc."; "suspicious of your interest in Louis Zukofsky").

If anything, my personal guess would be that he doesn't really give a shit about the money, despite what he says, and that his primary drive may be to dissuade what he may consider to be inferior works of criticism by controlling access. I suspect this is much more about "intellectual" than it is about "property rights" per se, and I'm curious what sort of terms he would grant someone whom he respects as a scholar of his parents' works (though such a person may not exist).
posted by taz at 12:57 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


like a mad petty chris tolkien
posted by clavdivs at 1:28 AM on September 5, 2011


The pulling of material pretty much renders this article in Jacket2 useless.

It's amazing to me that no one's been able to get EFF or another lawyer to fight this jackass and his obviously idiotic take on fair use. Apparently he's not important enough or something? I dunno, seems like nipping this kind of asshole behavior in the bud is something very much worth doing. Where are all the fair use legal eagles on this one?
posted by mediareport at 7:14 AM on September 5, 2011


Metafilter: fuck off and make your own language, this one's ours.
posted by localhuman at 8:56 AM on September 5, 2011


Wow.

This jumps out at me:

We can therefore either more or less amicably work out the fees that I demand; you can remove all quotation; or we can turn the matter over to lawyers, this last solution being the worst of the three

I think this jackass has no idea just how much worse that third option will be for him. He probably ought to talk to a lawyer or two before extorting people with threats of frivolous legal action.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:22 AM on September 5, 2011


"These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant MOI"

I thought to myself, he couldn't possibly be referring to himself here. Then I considered the options...

These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant Mothers of Invention. [a 1960's band led by Frank Zappa]
These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant moment of inertia. [a quantification of the rotational inertia of an object]
These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant multiplicity of infection. [the ratio of infectious agents to infection targets]
These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant mars orbit insertion. [modifying the trajectory of an interplanetary spacecraft to enter a Martian orbit]
These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant Master of Illusion. [a 2007 Nintendo DS game]
These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant Minister of Information. [I think this one's my favorite]
These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant Ministry of Interior. [a governmental ministry for internal affairs]

Nope, he really means 'me'. In French. And all caps.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:43 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We can therefore either more or less amicably work out the fees that I demand..."

Why do I get the feeling that it's 'less'?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:47 PM on September 5, 2011


Yeah, I went throught a similar thought pattern as you, iamkimiam. At first I thought it was a typo and he meant "Notice of Intent" but no, he really seems to mean 'me.' In French. And all caps.
posted by Kattullus at 5:15 PM on September 5, 2011


I just figured he meant to sound like Miss Piggy.
posted by RogerB at 5:46 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


relevant article just posted on one of my other favorite weblogs, 3QD, about the poem "A".
posted by pelican at 9:45 AM on September 7, 2011


I believe it was Louis Zukofsky who first said:

"Christ, my son Paul is an asshole!"
posted by Fat Charlie the Archangel at 1:43 PM on September 8, 2011


« Older We've previously visited Cake Wrecks, but only for...  |  Today is the 65th birthday of ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments