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Jackson Mac Low: Selections

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Jackson Mac Low: Selections

About this collection

  • Some items restricted

4687 digital objects.


A selection of content from the Jackson Mac Low papers, focused on reformatted sound recordings and a presentation of the digital files captured off the poet's collection of floppy disks and zip drives. Due to copyright restrictions, access to this content may be limited. This material is copyright-protected, and researchers must register with the Special Collections Request System to initiate requests to view or listen to material using the Library's Virtual Reading Room Service. Requests may be made through the request button links in each object.

The sound recordings consist of poetry performances by Jackson Mac Low, digitized from original tape reels found in his papers. The recordings include performances of the titles: A Vocabulary for Sharon Belle Mattlin, Age of Anxiety, Asymmetries 1-190, Milarepa Gatha, The 5th Biblical Poem, and The Text on the Opposite Page, among many others. Multiple recordings may feature recitation of the same poem, but each performance is unique. The sound files feature words and music performed by Mac Low and various colleagues, friends, and family, including Paul Blackburn, Spencer Holst, Jerome Rothenberg, Armand Schwerner, Anne Tardos and Diane Wakoski. The majority of the original reel-to-reel recordings are labeled with unique "RJ" and "RM" numbers that follow Mac Low's own indexing system. These numbers have been preserved in the titles of the recordings, and reflect the original order of Mac Low's sound library, which was primarily chronological.

The digital files consist of over 4000 documents that Mac Low saved to his library of nearly 300 floppy disks and zip drives. File names and titles are Mac Low’s own. Many of the files were created or saved in versions of Microsoft Word from the early to mid-1990s, and are therefore not readily viewable on modern computers with updated software. PDF renderings of all the documents have been created for keyword searching and ready access in this digital collection (the original files in their native formats have also been preserved). The original creation dates of the Word and text documents were captured and appear in the descriptions of the corresponding PDF versions. The handwritten label, or inscription, on each disk is also included in the description for each file. Mac Low tended to save and re-save files, and de-duplicating across the collection was performed using automated tools. Still, some files may be similar or redundant. Most of the files are poems or letters (correspondence has been consolidated into single objects by year).

Additional material includes 5,000 emails, some applications and executable programs Mac Low used as tools in his poetry writing (see Diastex/Diastext, Lucas, Prose, and Travesty), drafts of cover page layouts; and other miscellaneous digital documents.

Creation Date
  • circa 1955-2005
Location Of Originals

From the Jackson Mac Low Papers. MSS 180. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.


Audiocassette tapes and moving image recordings in this collection were digitized through support by a Public Knowledge grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Personal Names


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  • English
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