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.

December 8th

Dear Friends,
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.

Anne Tardos
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

Michael Nicoloff
Link to a note from December 2004

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