Charles Reznikoff had grown accustomed to publishing his own slim books for over a decade before he received a particularly startling bit of news in the February 1931 issue of Poetry magazine. “There is a learned article about my verse in Poetry this month,” he wrote to his future wife on the day it came into his unsuspecting hands, “from which I learn that I am ‘an objectivist.’” True to form, Reznikoff proceeded swiftly to other pressing news of the day: he had just received the last check from his publisher; he was agonizing over his new work; he concluded somberly, “I am about to diet.” That he would breeze into and out of the literary spotlight so nonchalantly should not surprise us. Like William Carlos Williams, Reznikoff thrived on tiptoeing across the high ledge of the present and the immediate, seldom allowing his imagination to lean against the abstractions implied in such labels as...

 
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