Proposal for an anthology of John Cage’s Poems: Selected and introduced by RK

The organization will be chronological, reflecting RK’s historical introduction no doubt incorporating bits from RK’s 1970 essay on Cagean Poetry (in John Cage [1970, reprinted 1991]), from his 1979 New York Times Book Review notice reprinted in his The Old Poetries and the New (1981), and interviews he has done with Cage over the years. It will place Cage’s poetry among his contemporaries and also distinguish poetry from his innovative prose (e.g., “145’ for Speaker,” “Mureau,” among others). The book can be any length that the publisher deems appropriate. Having received JC’s verbal permission “to do whatever you wish,” RK expects cooperation from the composer’s estate. As we cannot discern in advance what might be available, at what prices, any table of contents is necessarily tentative. Once a contract is in hand, unforseen examples may arise. It would be possible to make a substantial book without drawing upon material already published by Wesleyan Univ. Press. May I recommend that this proposal not be submitted to any “poetry consultant” who will predictably proclaim that Cage’s work is “not poetry.”

“Diary: 1965,” from A Year from Monday (Wesleyan University, 1966), 18 pp. [This was previously reprinted in RK’s Possibilities of Poetry (1970).]

Illustrations of Not Wanting To Say Anything about Marcel (1969), along with his explanation of compositional processes (Eye Editions, 1969), approx. 30 pp.

“Song” (Henmar Press, 1970).

“36 Mesostics re and not re Marcel Duchamp,” M (Wesleyan University, 1973), 8 pp.

“Empty Words, Parts I & IV,” Empty Words (Wesleyan University, 1979), 20 + 13 pp.

“Writing for the Third Time through Finnegans Wake,” previously unpublished, approx. 80 pp.

Many of Cage’s occasional mesostics, mostly written for particular occasions.

Writings through Pound’s Cantos, Unmuzzled Ox

Writings through the Bible, Chris Mann, etc.

Writing through Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, from Best Minds (Lospecchio, 1986), l0 pp.

Selections from Themes and Variations (Station Hill, 1981fl, approx. 25 pp.

“Anarchy,” from John Cage at Seventy-Five (Bucknell University, 1989), 60 pp.

“Scenario for M. F. [Morton Feldman],” “Stanzas for T. T. [Toro Takemitsu],” “Songs for C. W. [Christian Wolff],” all previously unpublished, copies of which I have.

Selections from Mirage Verbal, “Writings through Mercel Duchamp, Notes,” (1990), in French, 25 pp.

A selection from recent texts, such as “Sonnekus,” “Whiskus,” and “Mirakus,” some of which are reprinted in the booklet accompanying Joan La Barbara’s CD (1990), most of which are, like much of Cage’s writings from the 1980s, previously uncollected, if not unpublished. It would be appropriate to include the Erik Satie text, which has been publicly available for years via computer modem, though Northwestern Univ. Press once had a contract to make a book of it. For further information, please contact RK at the address at the top of the page. Thank you.