Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: American Poets)
Mina Loy was born Mina Gertrude Lowy, to Sigmund Lowy and Julia Bryan Lowy. Her father, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, a middle-class Englishwoman, had an unhappy marriage. Their tumultuous relationship, described by Loy in her long poem Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose, negatively affected her childhood, and she blamed her mother for her repressive upbringing. Her father, however, encouraged her artistic talent, and she began formal study of painting at the age of fifteen. She studied at the Women’s Academy in Munich from 1899 to 1901, and after spending several years back in England, she moved to Paris in 1903.
After 1903, she never returned to England for any substantial amount of time. She drifted between Paris, Florence, and New York for most of her adult life and spent her last sixteen years in Aspen, Colorado. During her first prolonged stay in Paris, she married English painter Stephen Haweis and gave birth to her first child, Ada, who died of pneumonia a year later. In 1906, she and Haweis moved to Florence, where she gave birth to another daughter, Joella, in 1907 and a son, Giles, in 1909. Although her years in Florence were tainted by her unhappy marriage and physical and mental fragility, she became acquainted with several people who encouraged her artistic development, including Mabel Dodge, Gertrude Stein, and prominent Futurists Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Giovanni Papini. Her earliest poems were inspired by her...
(The entire section is 824 words.)
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Mina Loy was born Mina Gertrude Lowy in London on December 27, 1882. She was the oldest of three sisters born to a second-generation Hungarian Jew, Sigmund Lowy, and an English Protestant mother, Julia Bryan. Contrary to her mother’s staunch Victorian values, Loy’s father initiated her foray into the artistic world by sending her to art school in Munich at seventeen. She continued her studies in London and Paris. An accomplished painter and poet, Loy also tried her hand at writing novels and dramas, acting, fashion and lampshade design, drawing, sculpting, and modeling.
Loy moved to Florence in 1906 with her first husband, Stephen Haweis. She endeared herself with the leading futurist thinkers of the time, including F. T. Marinetti and Giovanni Papini. Inspired by the futurist call for the rejection of the status quo in literary construction, Loy began to experiment with free verse poetry, abandoning conventional aesthetics and form.
In 1916, she traveled to the United States where her poetry had found its way into little magazines of the time. Having divorced Haweis, Loy again found herself ensconced in impressive intellectual circles, mingling with the who’s who of the New York dada movement, including Marcel Duchamp, William Carlos Williams, and her second husband, Arthur Cravan. Loy was the epitome of a modern bohemian woman, and her poetry was both hailed and hated by her contemporaries. She was often admonished for its sexual...
(The entire section is 474 words.)