Can’t Buy Me Love: Robert Duncan and the Poetics of Communal Love

I’ve titled this section after the famous Beatles song, not because there is an intertext between Robert Duncan and the Beatles (if there is, I haven’t found it), but because it is a major feature of Duncan’s Passages series of poems, a series that punctuates his well-known collection, Bending the Bow and his final work,Continue reading “Can’t Buy Me Love: Robert Duncan and the Poetics of Communal Love”

Making Some Ordinary Things a Little Fancier: Gender in Mac Low’s Use of Stein

In my final plateau on Jackson Mac Low, I would like to spend some time looking at the gender politics at play in Mac Low’s use of Gertrude Stein’s work as both source and seed text in The Stein Poems. Stein’s work, especially on both political and epistemological levels, has long been studied as aContinue reading “Making Some Ordinary Things a Little Fancier: Gender in Mac Low’s Use of Stein”

“Suppose you revise that mutton!”: Mac Low’s Systemic Poetry and Pleasure

In “Analogies of Free Communities,” when I quoted Jackson Mac Low in arguing that exposing potentialities in art is a means of alleviating the pain of social institutions, and that this is an important point of creating art, I also noted that Mac Low admits: “I do not think that this ‘point’ is at oddsContinue reading ““Suppose you revise that mutton!”: Mac Low’s Systemic Poetry and Pleasure”

Analogies of Free Communities: Jackson Mac Low’s Artistic Anarchism

“Then again, if you mean by politics something that affects other people, working with language in ways other than the usual is political because it can affect people in unexpected ways, change the views of language, of thought – even of society or human relationships in general!” – JML Jackson Mac Low is one ofContinue reading “Analogies of Free Communities: Jackson Mac Low’s Artistic Anarchism”

Not Mourning Gertrude Stein: Mac Low’s Retro-Avant-Garde

In my first entry on Jackson Mac Low, scholar Mike O’Driscoll commented, asking “what do the Stein poems achieve or open on to that furthers our understanding of his work? What is singular about their contribution to his corpus?” (“Freely Revised” Comment 23 August 2013).  My response was that the poems serve as a “comingContinue reading “Not Mourning Gertrude Stein: Mac Low’s Retro-Avant-Garde”

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”