When I am dead and buried, there will be a sudden interest in my books, especially the unwritten ones. I shall be a legendary figure, like Arthur Rimbaud. People, unacquainted with the texture of my life, will weave stirring myths about my days in China, Ecuador, Africa. People acquainted with it, will wonder, and misunderstand. My books are just like my life: I seem to possess the parlous gift of displeasing all groups of readers at all times.
How wrong can someone be? But perhaps now is the time… Isadore Lhevinne (1896-1935) is an enigmatic figure—a brilliant Jewish American modernist writer of the 1920s/30s who is so largely unknown that when I canvassed my fellow writers, none of them knew his work or even his name. Not that he was immensely well known in his lifetime—a somewhat (though not completely) isolated writer, he seems to have had no contact with the more significant and/or prominent modernist figures of the day, such as e e cummings, Marsden Hartley, Hart Crane, Waldo Frank, Jean Toomer or Kenneth Burke. Also, until recently, biographical information was extremely scarce, and there are still gaps in our knowledge of his life. For someone with such extraordinary talent, he’s slipped into totally undeserved semi-oblivion.
Isadore Lhevinne (1896-1935)...
photo Dec. 1926
David Miller was born in Melbourne, Australia, but has lived in the UK for many years. His recent publications include Black, Grey and White: A Book of Visual Sonnets (Veer Books, 2011), Reassembling Still: Collected Poems (Shearsman, 2014), Towards a Menagerie (Chax Press, 2019), Matrix I & II (Guillemot Press, 2020), Afterword (Shearsman, 2022), Circle Square Triangle (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022), Some Other Shadows (Knives Forks and Spoons, 2022) and Spiritual Letters (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022). He has compiled British Poetry Magazines 1914-2000: A History and Bibliography of ‘Little Magazines’ (with Richard Price, The British Library / Oak Knoll Press, 2006) and edited The Lariat and Other Writings by Jaime de Angulo (Counterpoint, 2009) and The Alchemist’s Mind: a book of narrative prose by poets (Reality Street, 2012). He is also a musician and a member of the Frog Peak Music collective; as well as being a visual artist whose work has appeared on various book covers and in magazines, and even in the occasional exhibition. Previous books and chapbooks have appeared from Enitharmon, Gaberbocchus, Arc, Stride, Reality Street, Burning Deck, Singing Horse, Chax, hawkhaven and Harbor Mountain.