Jackson Mac Low: Two-Page Biography


Jackson Mac Low, born 12 September 1922 in Chicago, is a poet and composer who also writes performance pieces, essays, plays, and radio works (mainly produced at Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne). He is also a painter and multimedia performance artist, often with his wife, Anne Tardos and sometimes with Pauline Oliveros or others. Author of 31 books, his work has also been published in more than 90 anthologies and periodicals and read publicly, exhibited, performed, and broadcast in North and South America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. He has read, performed, and lectured in New York and throughout North America, Europe, and New Zealand, most recently in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Asnières, Paris, Bouliac (near Bordeaux), Marseilles, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and New York.
Educated at the University of Chicago (1939-43 [A.A.]) and Brooklyn College (1955-58 [B.A., cum laude]), He has taught at many schools, notably the Mannes School of Music (1966) and New York University (1966-73). In recent years he has taught creative writing and lectured at SUNY-Albany (1984), SUNY-Binghamton (1989), Temple (Philadelphia, 1989), UC San Diego (Regents' Lecturer, 1990), Naropa Institute (Boulder, 1975, 1991, 1994), Schule für Dichtung in Wien (Vienna, 1992, 1993), Bard College (MFA program, 1994), and Brown University (1994). He also read, performed, lectured, and participated in seminars at all those schools and at SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). He participated in the "John Cage Festival-Symposium" at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (1988).,and in "Performing Language," a conference-festival at the State University of New York, Binghamton (1988) and presented papers. at conferences on John Cage in Warsaw (1993) and at Mills College, Oakland, CA(1995). He also took part in a conference at Yale (1995) on visual and experimental poetry. In 1996 he worked with French poets and other translators on translations of recent poems of his into French at Fondation Royaumont, L'Abbaye de Royaumont, Asnières (Oise), France.
He has received fellowships and grants from CAPS (NY State, 1974, 1977), the NEA (1979), PEN (1974, 1982), the Guggenheim Foundation (1985), the Fulbright Foundation (for New Zealand, 1986), the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (N.Z., 1986), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1988), and The Fund for Poetry (1988-89, 1991-92).
His visual works have been exhibited in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Austria, France, Italy, Ireland, and Australia, most recently at Galerie 1900-2000 (Paris, 1989); Galleria F. Borghese, (Rome, 1990); the "Ubi Fluxus ibi motus" pavilion, Venice Biennale (1990); Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (1990); Salvatore Ala Gallery (NYC, 1990); Emily Harvey Gallery (NYC, 1990-91, 1991-92); Plug In, Brian Melnychenko, and 1.1.1 galleries (Winnipeg, 1991); Galerie Krinzinger (Innsbruck, 1991); Atelier 96 (Vienna, 1991), in Cork, Ireland (1994), and in group exhibits throughout, Europe, Australia, etc. (1994-98)

His publications since 1980 include the books From Pearl Harbor Day to FDR's Birthday (1982, 2nd ed. 1985), Bloomsday (1984), French Sonnets (1984, 2nd ed. 1989), The Virginia Woolf Poems (1985), Eight Drawing-Asymmetries (1985), Representative Works: 1938-1985 (1986), Words nd Ends from Ez (1989), Twenties: 100 Poems (1991), Pieces o' Six: Thirty-three Poems in Prose (1992), 42 Merzgedichte in Memoriam Kurt Schwitters (1994), Barnesbook (1996), and Two Plays: The Marrying Maiden and Verdurous Sanguinaria (1999) as well as the CD Open Secrets (1993), comprising eight works performed by Anne Tardos, Mac Low, and seven instrumentalists.

In September-November 1997 his 75th birthday was celebrated at New York University and the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he read his poetry and lectured, as he also did at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He also took part in a concert of his works for speakers and instrumentalists at Hallwalls, in Buffalo. The 1st issue of Crayon is a 313-page Festschrift for his 75th and includes a CD.

In November 1998 Anne Tardos and he performed their collaborative performance poem "For Dick Higgins" in New York, first during the S.E.M. Ensemble’s memorial concert for Higgins at the Paula Cooper Gallery and then during the memorial for him at the Judson Memorial Church, and on 1 January 1999, at St Mark’s Church during the Poetry Project’s New Year’s Day Benefit Reading.

posthumously published books:

Doings: An Assortment of Performance Pieces 1955–2002 (Granary Books, New York, 2005)

Thing of Beauty: New and Selected Works, Edited by Anne Tardos (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2008)

154 Forties,
Edited by Anne Tardos (Counterpath Press, Denver, 2012).

The Complete Light Poems: 1-60, Edited by Anne Tardos and Michael O'Driscoll (Chax Press, Victoria, TX, 2015)