I have never encountered any person
of more intense internal confrontation
with the reality of social experience on the
one hand, provoking a concomitant sense
of personal political responsibility,
and the desire and ability to focus continuously
on the reality of internal thought and
experience, at the other pole,
as it is or could be encompassed in or by
forms of verbal expression.
A powerful current connected these poles
in the writing of Jackson Mac Low, sparking
an astoundingly continuous stream
of beautiful, haunting, complexly evocative and inventive poetic objects.
All of this from a person of incomparable modesty and humility,
yet unmatchable humor and vivacity, particularly in performance of
his own or others' poetic or artistic works.
Although his works will surely forever continue to nourish, his human
presence will be sorely missed and its memory cherished by all who knew or were touched by him.
"Time will be wasted
whether in light from an Argend lamp
or arc light
An aureole springs around a formerly hated form.
You must stay alive."
Jackson Mac Low
born September 12, 1922
died December 8, 2004
[from 14th Light Poem: For Frances Witlin- 10 August 1962]
(Black Sparrow Press, 1968)