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Thing of Beauty

New and Selected Works

Jackson Mac Low (Author), Anne Tardos (Editor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 502 pages
ISBN: 9780520260023
May 2009
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
This landmark collection brings together poetry, performance pieces, "traditional" verse, prose poems, and other poetical texts from Jackson Mac Low's lifetime in art. The works span the years from 1937, beginning with "Thing of Beauty," his first poem, until his death in 2004 and demonstrate his extraordinary range as well as his unquenchable enthusiasm. Mac Low is widely acknowledged as one of the major figures in twentieth-century American poetry, with much of his work ranging into the spheres of music, dance, theater, performance, and the visual arts. Comparable in stature to such giants as Robert Creeley, John Ashbery, and Allen Ginsberg, Mac Low is often associated with composer John Cage, with whom he shared a delight in work derived from "chance operations." This volume, edited by Anne Tardos, his wife and frequent collaborator, offers a balanced arrangement of early, middle, and late work, designed to convey not just the range but also the progressions and continuities of his writings and "writingways."

PART I: 1937-1954
PART II: December 1954 - March 1979
PART III: September 1979 - September 2004

About Jackson Mac Low
About Anne Tardos
Index of Titles
Jackson Mac Low (1922–2004) was a poet, composer, painter, and multimedia performance artist. He is the author of more than twenty-five books including Doings (2005), Pieces o’ Six (1993), and Twenties (1992). Anne Tardos is a poet, performer, visual artist, and composer. She is the author of many books including The Dik-dik’s Solitude: New and Selected Works (2003), Uxudo (1999), and Mayg-shem Fish (1995).
“A landmark collection.”—Kathleen A. Welton Library Journal
“This collection, which follows two previous selections, does the best job to date in providing a window into Mac Low’s unique perspective on what constitutes poetic beauty, showcasing a wide range of his poetry, from earnest political juvenilia to concrete-poetic text experiments, and featuring the previously less represented work Mac Low did in his last 20 years.”—Publishers Weekly
“Thing of Beauty truly is . . . Tardos’ organization makes this a perfect “first book” for anyone who may be interested in starting to explore Mac Low’s work . . . it’s the best representation of the whole person he [Mac Low] ever had.”—Silliman’s Blog
“A substantial collection . . . the book is a thing of beauty in itself, splendidly designed and printed.”—Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
"Jackson Mac Low's poetry and prose exceeds narrow definitions of artists by movements or poets by style. His work began with and returned to timeless subjects such as children, animals, love, war, death, and God, diverging at points into rigorously imposed structures, systems, and chance operations in an effort to suppress the ego in his art. At one point, embarrassed by his depth of feeling, Mac Low confesses to being an 'existential poet,' a declaration that the title of the poem A Lack of Balance But Not Fatal contradicts with modest and generous humor. This is an important and often very moving anthology of Mac Low's thought, at the same time as it reflects the preoccupations of his generation and ranges over a wide variety of approaches to writing and art making. Thing of Beauty is a "manifesto," the term Mac Low would use to describe expressions of personal truth; and his are beautiful."—Kristine Stiles, Professor of Art History, Duke University

"In this generous selection of Jackson Mac Low's work, we can see, first hand, the poet's profound understanding of the physics of language and his exuberant articulation of the sounds of words in unpredictable motions. The multiplicity of Mac Low's forms and his rejection of any hierarchy among the forms of poetry (objective and subjective, expository or nonrepresentational, lyric and epic), along with his refusal to identify poetic composition with a characteristic 'voice' of the poet and his rejection of traditional aesthetic standards of beauty, are among the chief marks of his iconoclastic genius. Mac Low's magnificent and multidimensional poems open vast expanses for the imagination to inhabit."—Charles Bernstein

"This is one of the great watershed events in recent publishing history. Mac Low's reputation has exploded on the poetry scene since his death."—Hannah Higgins, author of Fluxus Experience

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