JACKSON MAC LOW
September 12th. 1922, Chicago — December 8th. 2004, New York City
Photo by Anne Tardos, courtesy of Jacket Magazine
Anne Tardos is preparing a Jackson Mac Low website.
We are sad to announce that Jackson Mac Low died this morning at 11:30 a.m. at Cabrini hospital in New York from complications after a stroke he suffered on November 4th. He was 82.
There will be no funeral, but he will be buried at Cedar Park Cemetery in Oradell, NJ.
A memorial will be held in the future.
Mordecai-Mark Mac Low
Clarinda Mac Low
Barrett Watten is putting together a memorial page which will probably be, or be linked from, here.
It's a sad occasion. Jackson's alertness, energy and good humour had me somehow thinking he'd always be around, always working. I've many memories of him over the years,
in many places. My favourite remark of his, which gives a brief glimpse of his sweep, was when I was staying with him and Anne a couple of weeks after 9/11, the smell of
burnt plastic, metal and bone still in the air and a haze of smoke outside. He was telling me he'd heard one of the planes pass low overhead, wondered what the sound was and
why it seemed familiar. Then he remembered: "it was like the sound the Hindenburg made passing over my home in Chicago when I was a boy." I won't be alone
in missing Jackson.
The New York Times obituary for Jackson is here, but requires free registration.
I've put a PDF file of it here.
The Los Angeles Times obituary is here.
The Guardian's obituary is here, and a PDF file here
from Tom Leonard, Glasgow, December 9th.
He held to his principles all the way.
A note on Tim Peterson's Mappemunde, December 9th. Within it are links to pieces by Pierre Joris and Ron Silliman.
from Andrew Levy, New York, December 26th.
I remember Jackson Mac Low as generous and wise. I remember that Jackson
was at every reading by everyone and that he always sat close to the front,
to the microphone, with notepad and pen in hand nodding his head, listening
and writing. I remember seeing some of his notebook pages filled in every
conceivable direction with his sentences, lines and improvisations. If he
closed his notebook while you read, well, he was never indifferent. I came
home on a Friday night to find the Times obit laid open on my desk. I
couldn't read it for several hours. The man who for decades had climbed six
flights of old wooden stairs to reach home, 3 flights of which would tire
anyone half his age, had long seemed untouched by age or ill health. I
remember some years back, maybe it was as long as ten, at a party at James
Sherry's loft standing in a small circle with Jackson and other friends, passing a joint around laughing to Jackson's repartee, the one
person who, higher than a kite, was absolutely lucid and brilliant.
He was one of the few people in the poetry and performance world who was
always kind to me and who struck me with his gentleness, incisive
intelligence, integrity, humor and utter lack of pretension. I valued the
kinship I felt with Jackson, a fellow Midwesterner, who I'd identified as
an independent, an 'outsider' to poetic fashion yet who attracted an
international cadre of admirers and various 'schools' of poetry vying to
claim him as their own. I was twenty when I first encountered Jackson's
work in the context of experimental / avant-garde poetry and performance in
a course taught by Barry Alpert, editor of VORT. I remember the picture of
Jackson in VORT with long hair and a full beard - a modern day Whitman.
I remember his 80th birthday celebration at St. Mark's Church and everyone
agreeing we'd be there again for his 90th and 100th. "Hell, he's going to
outlive us all!" When I look around these United States I see few poets of
his stature, ethically and artistically, still standing. He brought visible
order to chance. He let poetry happen. He ushers us to the present.
from Gloria Graham, New Mexico, April 11th. 2005.
Click on the thumbnail for a larger image
Link to a note from December 2004
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