Meaning Abounds: Mac Low’s Anti-Saussurian Reading-as-Performance

In my plateau, “Noisy Inging: The ‘62 Mesostics re Merce Cunningham’ as Anti-Exegesis,” I suggested that the Cage’s Cunningham mesostics, in their refusal of exegetical interpretation, become “notations for a reading public, who perform the piece … as they read” ( Considering how involved both Cage and Mac Low were in the artistic-performance community, itContinue reading “Meaning Abounds: Mac Low’s Anti-Saussurian Reading-as-Performance”

“Freely Revised and Edited”: Determinism and Authorship in Jackson Mac Low

The Cunningham mesostics mark an important starting point for John Cage’s indeterminate, or chance-produced, poetry. They are, as Jackson Mac Low asserts, the point at which Cage “began to write ‘asyntactical’ mesostics” (“Cage’s Writings”  220, italics added). They, thus, serve as an important jumping-off-point for a postanarchist discussion of the relationship between indeterminate poetics andContinue reading ““Freely Revised and Edited”: Determinism and Authorship in Jackson Mac Low”


Introduction: Rhizome Joyce’s & cyclic & just & concept & just & crystallize. & jumping & cat; & Jacob & cells & Jean & command & just & canal-rhizome & just & concepts, & jostle & coexist, & just & cat & just & conjunction & 1914: One or Several Wolves? jeopardizes, & counted &Continue reading “ANXIOUS INFLUENCE: READING JOHN CAGE THEORETICALLY”

No Authors: Postanarchist Solutions for Practical Reading/Writing

Most Often Misunderstood: Cage’s Use of Chance As I have suggested earlier, with the exception of the recently published articles by Weaver and Braune, the only author to give more attention than a few sentences to the Cunningham mesostics is Cage’s fellow poet Jackson Mac Low, who writes of this sequence, albeit still quite briefly,Continue reading “No Authors: Postanarchist Solutions for Practical Reading/Writing”

Experimental Satori: Repetition and Koan in the Mesostics

Despite its prominence in scholarly criticism of Cage, the influence of Zen Buddhism on his work cannot be overstated. It may, at first, seem strange to read the Cunningham mesostics as a particular example of the influence of Zen Buddhism on Cage’s poetry; certainly other more semantic poems, such as the poems in the “Diary:Continue reading “Experimental Satori: Repetition and Koan in the Mesostics”