on Jackson Mac Low

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1983

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This piece, written for Gil Ott’s magazine Paper Air (Vol. 2 No. 3 Jackson Mac Low Issue, 1983)
and typeset/designed by me, was conceived as a “concrete dialogue,”
an act of concrete criticism with a strong phenomenological focus.
It reflects my interest from the early 1960s in the physical voice of poetry
as a resonant factor in composition and, occurring at the same time,  my encounter
with challenging older poet. As both an undergraduate and graduate student at NYU
I was regularly attending readings at Le Metro Cafe
(2nd Avenue near 9th Street) where I first heard and met poets
who also became friends–Mac Low, David Antin, Paul Blackburn,
Armand Schwerner,  Diane di Prima, Jerome Rothenberg, Harold Dicker, Alan Ginsberg, etc.
–all of whom were profoundly altering my sense of poetry,
and none more extremely than Mac Low. And this was happening through
the
voice of the poets even more than the text (which were always easy to come by),
and fed into a yearlong study in the form of a long paper on the physical voice
as significantly traceable in English poetry (from the Anglo-Saxon “Wanderer”
to Chaucer’s “Prologue” to
The Canterbury Tales).
Ongoing interest in that issue is reflected in this 1983 piece.
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This is a facsimile of the magazine pages and therefore not as clear as one would like.

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