Essay on Poetic Theory

Aphorisms on Futurism (1914)

by Mina Loy
LET the Universe flow into your consciousness, there is no limit to its capacity, nothing that it shall not re-create.

UNSCREW your capability of absorption and grasp the elements of Life—Whole.

MISERY is in the disintegration of Joy;
Intellect, of Intuition;
Acceptance, of Inspiration.

CEASE to build up your personality with the ejections of irrelevant minds.

NOT to be a cipher in your ambient,
But to color your ambient with your preferences.

NOT to accept experience at its face value.

BUT to readjust activity to the peculiarity of your own will.

THESE are the primary tentatives towards independence.

MAN is a slave only to his own mental lethargy.

YOU cannot restrict the mind’s capacity.

THEREFORE you stand not only in abject servitude to your perceptive consciousness—

BUT also to the mechanical re-actions of the subconsciousness, that rubbish heap of race-tradition—

AND believing yourself to be free—your least conception is colored by the pigment of retrograde superstitions.

HERE are the fallow-lands of mental spatiality that Futurism will clear—

MAKING place for whatever you are brave enough, beautiful enough to draw out of the realized self.

TO your blushing we shout the obscenities, we scream the blasphemies, that you, being weak, whisper alone in the dark.

THEY are empty except of your shame.

AND so these sounds shall dissolve back to their innate senselessness.

THUS shall evolve the language of the Future.

THROUGH derision of Humanity as it appears—

TO arrive at respect for man as he shall be—

ACCEPT the tremendous truth of Futurism
Leaving all those

                                                  Knick-knacks.

Mina Loy, "Aphorisms on Futurism" from The Last Lunar Baedeker, published by Jargon Press. Copyright © 1982 by Mina Loy. Reprinted by permission of The Estate of Mina Loy.
Originally Published: October 13, 2009
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 Mina  Loy

Biography

Although born in England, Mina Loy worked as a poet and visual artist in Paris, Florence, and New York City, where her beauty and outlandish behavior shone at the center of several avant-garde circles. The eccentric vocabulary and syntax of Loy’s free-verse poems and their sardonic treatment of love can puzzle and offend, but no reader can question the work’s originality nor the poet’s fierce intelligence.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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