A note on these annotations: Loy’s “Songs to Joannes” have an othering effect on the reader—that is, though they are written in English, one feels unhoused in their usages of the English language. Employing both hyper-specific terminology and familiar words used in unfamiliar ways, her poems have often sent me to the dictionary; possessing a remarkable vocabulary that appropriates terms from many lexicons (medical, biological, slang, etc.), Loy’s language is pressurized and diamond-hard, and many of her words resist easy categorization. As I have tried to note the various meanings refracting from their multiple facets. I consulted the Merriam Webster (MW) dictionary and verified these definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). In citing the OED, I provided for each definition the most contemporaneous date to Loy’s writing of the Songs, unless otherwise noted. When applicable, I have hyperlinked sites with further relevant information; otherwise, I’ve tried to supply the definitions and information here, so as not to take the reader too far from the text. I attempted to resist imposing my own interpretation or reading of these poems, offering instead what I hope is a useful gloss of the text for students of the poems; this is of course an impossible goal, and I suspect that my own interpretations have crept in no matter how fixedly I have tried to stay focused on the text. I offer these annotations with the hope that they will provide useful context and information for readers of Loy’s poems.


This version of Loy’s poem was rendered by Andrew Pilsch; I have changed the font to Times (a bit closer, by my eye, to the font used in the 1917 Others issue) and normalized one typographical choice (an aesc in XIX that was, by my research, present in neither the Others version nor RC’s LLB). Otherwise, I have found this version satisfactorily authentic, and I am grateful to Professor Pilsch for making it available.

This project is ongoing and ever-evolving, as such, I welcome any feedback or insights you may have for further annotation. You may reach me via email at jkari at