Essays on John Taggart

Two Approaches to John Taggart's

Slow Song for Mark Rothko and Inside Out

by Rochelle Ratner and Karl Young

These essays first appeared in the John Taggart issue of Paper Air magazine, Vol.2 #1, 1979, edited by Gil Ott. This issue came out shortly after the publication of "Slow Song for Mark Rothko" and "Inside Out," and included the first publication of "Peace on Earth." Though out of print, this issue of Paper Air remains basic to Taggart criticism. Perhaps the whole issue will go on-line someday. The table of contents for the issue appears at the end of this file. The two essays reproduced here deal specifically with two poems in the Light and Dust Archive. These two essays are by practicing poets who were in contact with the author while the poems were evolving, and may be the first critical responses to them.

Rochelle Ratner

The Poet As Composer: an inquiry into the work of John Taggart

I began this article with the intention of writing about Taggart's poetry in relation to music, and his ancestry in the works of Louis Zukofsky. At the time, I didn't know that he's written his doctoral dissertation on Objectivist Poetries in general, and the work of Zukofsky in particular -- submitted to Syracuse University in May, 1974, the same time when many of the poems I want to discuss here were written or germinating. Many of his perceptions about Zukofsky's work (or intentions) could just as easily apply to his own work.

The deeper I got into a re-reading of Taggart's work, the more I came to understand that it's not so much music his work is involved with, but variations -- whether it be sight, as in the early poems (consider the preoccupation with mirrors and painting) or, in the later work. sound. He's attempting to capture those shifts which in their stillness form a single unit. The important thing to remember about Taggart is that he gives the reader directions, "maps" as he entitled his magazine. All we need to know is in the poems themselves.

I don't want to talk about things I'm not completely familiar with. Rather than deal with the various 'forms' of music his work relates to, I want to attempt an answer to the question why music, what in his work is relevant to the work of the composer? In a recent letter he talks of a poem, "Coming Forth By Day", which appeared in the first issue of Maps:

The poem involved a complicated matching up of musical sound with word sound, working with the sheet music for the composition which was by Ornette Coleman. . . It must have been this one that convinced me to drop musical sound imitation in favor of adopting musical composition procedures.

To have simply duplicated musical sound with word sound would have remained on a surface level, and if there's one thing Taggart's work is not, it's facile.

From this point on what he's in effect done is taken the tools all good poets use (I firmly believe they know more about music than they might realize) and extended them by turning deeply into the composer's form of composition. We're living at a time when the writer with only a literary background is boring as hell, or imitative at best. It's necessary for the poet to be rooted in a complementary structure -- be it anthropology, science, or whatever. And for Taggart, as for Zukofsky and Pound, that structure is music. The essential question remains: what exactly does this mean, and how does it affect the poems themselves? Knowing this, how can we read the poems better?


Let me begin with a quote from Taggart's thesis:

It is perhaps indicative that the definitions of transformation found in standard music reference works deal, at best, with 'thematic transformation', but fail to touch upon the thing in itself. The reason for this is that such definition would include nothing less than all music composition procedures. Hence if a time-honored 19th century composition textbook such as Percy Goetschius' The Homophonic Forms of Musical Composition is examined, there will be found section after section of embellishment of melody, interlude before repetition, extension at the end of antecedent phrase, etc."

It's much easier to achieve variations in music than in poetry, and it's these variations which lead into transformations. But how, precisely, does the composer vary? Melodically, he varies through embellishment, notes added in beyond the original, so the overall shape is retained (nothing is added that would disguise or distort the melody). On a more intellectual level, he uses inversion, taking the notes opposite to the original order. Rhythmically, he's offered the most opportunities for variation. Aside from putting in a completely different meter, he can elongate or shorten some of the original notes and create a completely new effect. Harmonically, he can elaborate the chordal support and all but abandon the thematic material (as in most jazz compositions). On a large scale, of course, music has always had fragmentation, because themes break down into units and these units become the kernels for development. In essence, then, all music is variation.

In these poems, Taggart is trying to capture the precise moment of change/transformation. He uses a language so precise it seems free of simile and metaphor -- until we look again. As he says in "The Head In A Mirror": We have not done away with the metaphors/we keep turning. It is the eye that shifts, not the image. And Taggart knows how to lead the eye into focus. But even when he's concerned with sight, it's the forms of music which the work seems to add up to. In "Ricerear", the first poem in the book, he describes his daughter playing with blocks. You put things together, he says near the start, until later: A fugue appears, all things and/ their ornament put in angles/ that remember themselves.

So many of these poems are written to his family, with others dedicated to friends. Yet they're for the most part personal in the abstract. Like the primitive shaman, Taggart filters the energy through (or bounces the words off) an object, rather than going directly from person to person. It gives the poems a more planned, ritualistic background, with the "form" as another distancing. At its weakest only the form or craft remains, as in a poem such as "Signification, Burrs".

I see "The Drum Thing" as being the key poem in terms of understanding his later work, and worth quoting in full. It's dedicated to Elvin Jones (the drummer who appears mainly with John Coltrane).

When you listen to hear
they say
what did you see?

I saw
Egypt smothered.

She died, that entire place
stiffly in the old manner.


In the morning stumbles her ghost
the skin off the muscles
and in moving has the skull and horns of a deer.

From the suburbs
out of an old Ford
others come with her, animal shapes in walking.

A fly-covered horse hangs from
a tree in the sun, heaved
there from a swing chain, its belly ripped out, wind now.

The grey tongue of the horse has only flies.

Taggart edges around the core, using the drums to give an emotional overtone. Look at the hard consonants, the halting, choppy rhythm. Even the inversions in language seem right. In this poem, he's an objectivist poet with no object. Similarly, in his thesis, taking his lead from Zukofsky's "The tune's image holding in the line", he goes on to equate the "tune's image" with "the poem itself":

"As the lines are read -- sounded -- the image, which is defined by the contours of the words and their relation, is at the same time 'created'. The poem cannot be 'about' in the usual sense of subject, anything: it is its own subject, written in a neutral language that prompts the reader to see by way of knowing."

Or again, he summarizes that this is: "the use of sound to weld the seemingly disjoint elements of the image-poem together or to compose its -- sound's -- own image."

Where Zukofsky based his music on objects (though often the object fades and music takes over), Taggart bases his music on the emotions surrounding our relations to objects. When the music fades, we have only the emotion. The poems are fascinating, but he is on tenuous ground here, something which the composers understand much better. I quote Albert Roussel in Composers On Music:

If it is a question of a symphonic work devoid of program or commentary, there is no general feeling that could be defined, and the composer is concerned only with the interplay of sound-combinations, the infinite variety of which offers his imagination unlimited scope. It is possible that such music may suggest to certain hearers feelings that the composer himself did not experience in the least, but this is one of the inevitable consequences of the undefined character of the musical language.

More than anything else, in this first book, Taggart is aware of his own weaknesses. As he ends "Dance Of Sleeves": there is no consolation / even for that which is well-made.


To me, this remains one of Taggart's weakest books. Many of the poems attempt closure through humor. It's as if Taggart saw them coming full circle, and became uneasy -- so he attempted to make fun of himself (as in "Balance/Rest" or "Square Order Shuffle"). But what these poems accomplished was to bring Taggart back to himself as the center of the poem. The center one's own / one's own voice he says in "Contrafact". Compare that with this quote from Igor Stravinsky on musical composition:

Composing, for me, is putting into an order a certain number of these sounds according to certain internal relationships. This activity leads to a search for a center upon which the series of sounds involved in my understanding should converge. Thus, if a center is given, I shall have to find a combination that converges upon it. If, on the other hand, an as yet unoriented combination has been found, I shall have to determine the center towards which it should lead. The discovery of this center suggests to me the solution of my problem.

The repetition of words and phrases, which would play so much a part in Taggart's later work, has its ground-work here. In the title poem, he ends with the image of: Divining/ rod, aware/ by seeing:// two is one. On the next page, "Jennifer's Poem" begins:

Who but you
would have thought

to plant

geranium and impatiens
in the same brown pot ...

The images are similar to those used in To Construct A Clock, but here he seems searching to unite their differences more. There's a sense of separateness and unity, Man and God perhaps, each containing the other, which gives the work a definite spiritual element. But it's a worked-for, conscious spirituality. The poems are still working toward an understanding, and hence a completion. a finish which sums up what the poem is about. By the time he moves on from this book, he'll have gotten away from that and placed more trust in the words, the sounds and shapes of the words, forming their own completions. As he says in his thesis:

The more skillful poet, like the more skillful composer, will develop methods of variation within a recognized rhythm, perhaps to the point of an asymmetry in which the audience easily and naturally completes orders that have only been indicated before it.

The Pyramid Is A Pare Crystal and Dodeka, Taggart's next two published books, are working toward this. For me, it isn't until the long poem, "A Slow Song For Mark Rothko" (published as an issue of Bezoar) that he brings these ideas to perfection.


Here is Taggart at his most accessible, and in many senses at his most spiritual. "The aim's a new music" he says as preface to the poem. It reminded me of new composers such as Steve Reich or Phil Glass, setting up an almost mantralike pattern then gradually building upon it. A composer friend commented that: "These are the first new composers that music has had. The motif is similar to Oriental art such as a Persian carpet -- because of the rhythmic design of these pieces, you imagine you're hearing something new, but what you're actually doing is hearing better, deeper." Taggart sets out to, as he says in his thesis, "develop methods of variation within a recognized rhythm". With three sections, and three poems in each section, he plays on the mystical trinity. Each of the three poems in a given section ends with the same line: To sing as the host sings in his house for section one. To give as the host gives in his house for section two and To take as the host takes in his house for the third section.

This is a sequence based on verbs, all adding up to TO BE. Going back for a moment to "The Drum Thing", the progression from there seems natural. Particularly in jazz compositions, the drum could be called the verb -- it propels the music and urges on the intensity of the harmony. Even a drum solo seems a background effect, presenting the underlying emotional tones. In short, it sets the pace for everything else that happens. Without verbs there would be no life. What Taggart has done is isolate the verbs, then string them together again in as many combinations as possible, using other words only to focus.

breathe - stretch - utter - whisper - sing - at ease - straighten - give - hold out - rise - give hope - join - take

He doesn't start out with all these verbs, the first poem has only five. From then on it's an increasing scale, using the same verbs with the new focus given by added verbs.

I showed this poem to a composer friend, James D'Angelo, and his immediate response was that it: "reminded him of a jazz solo by someone like Sonny Rollins, some truly melodic variation player. Thelonius Monk would be another such musician." For me, it was easiest to relate to a piece like John Coltrane's rendition of "My Favorite Things" where the melody is so simple and natural that the variations are clear and simple on the surfaces yet infinite in their depth according to how attentively the listener is willing to participate. To perhaps get a better understanding of how Taggart got to this point, let me turn to his thesis once again. He speaks of the objectivist sense of viewing "the subject-object in the poem and the poem itself as an art object" and continues:

There is the danger, however, that the poem as object will deny the chance for any motion implying a voice and communication, that it will be only a static and non-expressive object among others. As a corrective, objectification must also function, by musical structure, to keep the object moving. To do this, the poet presents the details, got from sincerity in rhythmic organization, that require the reader's active participation for their completion.

About five months ago, I heard Taggart read "Peace On Earth", a poem much longer than "Slow Song", but constructed around many of the same principles. Listening, I immediately picked up on the subtle changes that occurred, and began to anticipate them. There was a sense of sacredness about those words, the sounds of them, the power in them. And yet it all seemed so very simple and natural.

The phenomenon of music is given to us with the sole purpose of establishing an order in things, including particularly the coordination between man and time. To be put into practices its indispensable and single requirement is construction. Construction once completed, this order has been attained, and there is nothing more to be said. It would be futile to look for, or expect anything else from it.

-- Igor Stravinsky, in Composers on Music

Karl Young

toward Peace On Earth

John Taggart's published work falls into three groups: chronologically, the short, discrete poems in the books To Construct a Clock and Prism and the Pine Twig come first, the two long poems The Pyramid is a Pure Crystal and Dodeka come next, and the most recent group consists of Slow Song for Mark Rothko, Inside Out, Giant Steps, and Peace on Earth. In the two long poems, The Pyramid is a Pure Crystal and Dodeka, Taggart used physical models as an aid to composition. In Dodeka, for instance, he used a metal sculpture of a dodecahedron by Georges Vantongerloo not as inspiration, but as a guide to disposition of lines. When I first read Slow Song, I assumed that there was some sort of physical model behind it. I thought the model might be spherical: the poem's regularities and variations suggesting a spherical object on whose surface the lines might be written -- perhaps variations being introduced by lines crossing each other, perhaps line length and content being determined by the part of the sphere over which the lines passed. Inside Out seemed to confirm this: even the title suggested something like a Moebius strip.

When I asked Taggart about the models used in these poems, he replied that he hadn't used any. Even so, the poems suggest a sense of three dimensional space to me.


In Pyramid and Dodeka Taggart made use of the cantus firmus technique -- a musical form originating in the middle ages, in which the composer develops his composition using the given notes of an already existing melody. He also used cantus firmus in Slow Song, Inside Out, and Peace on Earth -- but more casually, without physical models, etc. Slow Song has three numbered parts, each part is three pages long, and each part has three stanzas. The last stanza on each page is always one line long, the middle stanza is always three lines long and the first stanza is always seven lines long. The last stanza of each page is always identical in its section: that is, the last stanzas of pages 1,2, and 3 are identical; the last stanzas of pages 4,5, and 6 are identical; and the last stanzas of pages 7, 8, and 9 are identical. In each numbered part a basic framework is established for first and middle stanzas and modulations are worked upon them.

In the first stanzas, Taggart develops a number of themes: song coming from breath; breath from ease and unforced extension of self; a sense of totality coming from these processes; and a sense of generosity, of interpersonal understanding, of charity (in the older, biblical sense of the word) developing out of the resultant state of mind. Song dominates and is the key to this process. What is the song? That seeds breathe in the earth.

The middle stanzas grow out of this: the basic image is of a radiant flower. Taggart tells me that he was thinking of a commentary on a flower in one of the windows in Chartres Cathedral.

The concluding stanzas of each page underline and emphasize the development of the poem. They are:

To sing as the host sings in his house.

To give as the host gives in his house.

To take as the host takes into his house.

As well as underscoring the poem's development, they balance the poem: even though the changes in the basic pattern aren't great, they are forceful and need to be anchored in this way.

Within this formal outline, any number of interpretations is possible. For instance, given the number of schema of the piece, the emphasis on quietude, song, and charity, the use of words like "radiantia", the theme of light in darkness, Taggart's concern elsewhere with medieval and renaissance philosophy, and the central image of a stained glass cathedral window, you could interpret the poem along Christian lines.

But you needn't. The poem incorporates words and phrases used by Rothko and you could read it as a commentary on Rothko, whose spirituality was non-sectarian.

Saxifrage, the flower mentioned, means, etymologically, rock breaker.


In the poems in this series there isn't a lot of variation from one part to the next. Taggart works with repetition and near repetition in them: there are no abrupt changes of any sort in these poems. This, of course, gives the poems a certain hieratic, formalized quality, but it does not make them static: in fact, just the opposite is the case: their dynamic force comes primarily from skillful variation of detail. The bulk of the repeated material creates a tension, a sort of suspense; when a new element is introduced, it strikes against the flat surface of repetition with great resonance. This striking of flat surfaces with new material is the main energizing form in the poems but there are other processes at work as well. Though there's a lot of repetition in these pieces, it is not the sort of dull repetition that creates monotony, but a strenuous repetition that demands careful attention on the part of the reader or listener. Try reading, for example, the first stanza of Inside Out aloud, without studying it beforehand. Unless you're a good sight reader, you'll probably stumble. A device that heightens this call for attention is Taggart's lineation: even though phrases may be repeated, they often don't hold the same position in a line -- so a phrase immediately repeated may be broken in a different place by the succeeding line ending. Grammatical and syntactic structure contribute their share. In Slow Song we find, after a series of prepositions and verbs in the infinitive:

rise to full height to give to hold out to
to give the hand to hold out the hand

The last 'to' in the first of these lines has a different function than the repeated 'to's that precede it, not only creating a change of emphasis (which is as much as to say a change of rhythm) but also asking us to reconsider the 'to' before the preceding 'hold' (does it belong to 'give'?) and setting up a strong tension between itself and the 'to' that begins the next line.

Inside Out has four numbered parts, each part is four pages long, and each page has four stanzas. The first stanza of each page always has eight lines; the fourth, two. The second and fourth stanzas on each page are identical on each page and in each part, but change from part to part:

If you call out to the bird and if you call out
to the bird and wait on the bird: the sound is there.

is stanzas two and four in all four pages of part 1:

The sound is there the sound is no there the sound
is there the sound is not: you will plead and sigh for it.

is stanza two and four in all four pages of part two; etc.

The modulations work through the firs and third stanzas and the way the modulations first manifest themselves is through accretions and deletions. Each part opens with the line

You have to hear the sound before you play the sound.

The line only appears as an opening to each part: you can hear it as an opening flourish or read it as a statement of the basic canto firmo. The bulk of the developmental material in first stanzas is an insistence on listening to the song of a bird. The image of the bird grows as the poem progresses: he is traveler; he is invisible; he cannot be broken; he cannot be handed about; he teaches; he directs you away from crowds and personal attachments; you listen to the bird under a tree in a court; you assent to the song; as in prayer; as in prayer being heard; you have to sit in a sort of silence; a silence in which the singing may endure; in which the singing may endure in you.

In the third stanzas a similar process occurs. The third stanzas of the beginning of each numbered part begin with a slight variant on the original canto firmo:

You have to hear the sound before you play before.

These stanzas concentrate on your actions: before you clap hands; before you clap hands for joy; move with the vibrations in the air; move within them; before there is room to clap and pass round a great drum; to clap and sway round it; sway around it with candles; sway around it as a candle dancer; a source of delight; as waves striking night; as wind strikes the waves; wind strikes waves as cymbals; as flame on the waves with your hair flowed back; with your throat upturned; in night; burning in the night.

Working around first and third stanzas are second and fourth stanzas: these become the poem's key lines in the fourth part:

The sound is there to turn inside out: what is
inside is not the bird but his presence.


Song, whether it be birdsong or song, is an art that works in time and the poems considered here work with their basic temporal nature. Taggart is not in a hurry to get anything said. He concentrates on getting his work clear and carefully articulated. In doing so he allows images to form slowly; allowing images to form slowly, Taggart allows them to form with a great deal of force -- the images wouldn't be a strong if they were presented rapidly.

The earlier works -- the short poems in To Construct a Clock, for instance -- are not the kind of poetry that can be read rapidly. A reader has to read slowly and carefully if he is to get anything out of the poems, though once a reader is familiar with a poem, he can read it more rapidly. In the present works, that slow sort of concentration is built into the poems themselves: a reader has to put himself into the right frame of mind to read these poems; if he tries to read one of them without it, the poem will either put him in the right frame of mind or reject him completely.


The relationship between poetry and other arts has been much discussed in recent years, though, in my opinion, the discussion has only been adequate in few specialized areas such as performance. An axiom used by Northrop Frye and others is that experimental literature tends either toward the visual, toward painting, on the one hand and toward sound, toward music, on the other. There has been a strong emphasis on the 'either or' in that axiom. In actual practice, however, an exploration of visual potentialities will often bring a new emphasis on sound along with it, and vice versa. Consider, as instances, Jackson Mac Low's Gathas and Jerome Rothenberg's Horse Songs and Shaking the Pumpkin (the poem, not the anthology) these pieces are simultaneously visual and aural and the two dimensions actually depend on each other. In addition, the visual component of experimental poetry is often three rather than two dimensional -- the three dimensional works of Augusto and Haroldo de Campos are good examples of this tendency. Further, the degree to which visual and aural methods have been employed should be taken into consideration. Dealing with musically oriented poetry you should distinguish between 1, works that take musical material as subject or conceit; 2, works that use musical form in an analogous fashion; 3, works that employ actual musical principles but not to produce music; and 4, works that could just as well be considered musical scores.

Taggart's interest in music and visual art is apparent in all his work. The subjects or conceits in the majority o the short poems in the books To Construct a Clock and Prism and the Pine Twig come from music or painting or sculpture. In Pyramid and Dodeka, these arts not only supply conceits and subjects, they also use musical and sculptural principles in their composition.

The kind of music Taggart has in mind is usually polyphonic music -- in which two or more melodic lines progress simultaneously. Of course, the only way he could achieve real polyphony would be to arrange his poems in such a way as to allow two or more voices to read simultaneously. I'd like to hear a multiple voice arrangement of one of these pieces, though I doubt that this would improve the piece -- it would probably actually dilute it. In any case, as they stand now, they are not actual musical compositions and the fourth of the above categories does not apply to them.

The polyphonic dimension of Prism and Dodeka comes from the union of musical and sculptural processes. After composing small poems using cantus firmus technique, Taggart ended each section with a 'unison'. This was created by assigning lines to physical models. In these unisons you only hear one line at a time but the effect of the unison is of density and faster pace coming after a slower and more open pattern has been developed. This is enhanced by visual means: the small poems are framed in boxes, one to a page; the unison's lines proceed one after another. The contrast between density and singularity is further emphasized in my edition of Dodeka by printing the brief poems in larger type.

I've already mentioned the use of cantus firmus in Inside Out; cantus firmus technique has often been used to generate polyphonic works. In the present series a strong polyphonic effect is created by the patterns of repetition and accretion: though you read or hear one line at a time, you have the uncanny feeling that you're listening to a round of some sort. I don't think you could get closer than this to actual music without actually composing music.

At the beginning of this essay, I wrote that the poems in this series suggested three dimensional space to me. Polyphonic song is essentially spatially distributed song. On the simplest level, the singers stand in different places. Some extreme extensions of this are Giovani Gabrieli's works to be performed from the multiple choir lofts of St. Mark's in Venice, Chalres Ives' projected Universe Symphony, in which large groups of performers were to be stationed in valleys, along hillsides, and on mountain tops -- and some contemporary works in which performers participate simultaneously in different parts of a city or large building -- but all polyphonic music takes part in a spatial distribution of some sort. In Pyramid and Dodeka, sculpture took part in the composition of the poems but is not evident in the finished products; in the poems in the present series, no sculpture was used, but a sense of volume is implied in the finished work.

Song and sound are basic subjects and conceits in these pieces, as in many other poems by Taggart. But here, he not only tells us to sing and reinforces what he says with his musical way of saying it, but puts us in the middle of the song.

The sound is there to turn inside out: what is
inside is not the bird but his presence.


At the end of a review of Pyramid, I wrote for Margins magazine, I mentioned a few affinities between that work and the work of other people. I'd like to point out one affinity now, one that moves toward the long poem, Peace on Earth. Of course, there are many more: the basic affinities with Oppen and Zukofsky, the further development of Pythagorean thought so prominent in Dodeka, the relation of Inside Out to Byzantine art and so on.

Two focal points in Peace on Earth are statements of atrocities committed during the American phase of the Vietnam war and John Coltrane's Peace on Earth. Coltrane's Peace on Earth is a recent issue of a recording done 13 years ago in Japan. During his visit to Japan, Coltrane prayed for the victims of the previous Pacific war, particularly those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Taggart's Peace on Earth is a similar gesture and it is fitting that it has affinities with an Asian art form.

In some of his shorter poems, Taggart has written about Japanese performance arts, particularly Noh plays. He doesn't mention them in the poems under consideration here, but there's a strong affinity between the two bodies of work. There is another affinity that Taggart tells me he did not have in mind while writing Peace on Earth, but which may be worth following nonetheless. I feel a particular affinity between Taggart's poems and the ritual dance called Gagaku. The music for Gagaku is complex and requires virtuosity but the impression it gives is straightforward and even. Gagaku choreography is the result of a long period of refinement, of distillation; any given dance centers on a single gesture, requiring no great strain on the performer but carrying an enormous burden of meaning. The musicians have no conductor or leader; they keep time by synchronizing their breathing. Different arts interact in Gagaku: the choreographic scores are models of calligraphy and compare favorably in appearance with the best visual poetry; the movements of the musicians as they play their instruments is as carefully choreographed as the movements of the dancers. The music is arranged so that each note of each instrument is always clearly heard; there is no blending of tones. Gagaku has never been entertainment for large numbers of people; rather, it has been performed for small groups who wished to clarify their feelings and bring them into harmony with the universe.

In both Noh and Gagaku, the audience shares certain assumptions and is guided toward certain conclusions by the performance, but there is still plenty of room for difference in interpretation and the formation of a personal response on the part of the observer. The Japanese forms and Taggart's poems are highly formalized and hieratic. A poem like Dodeka, centering on Hippasus, the law breaker, seems to me to have stronger affinities with Noh plays: you watch what happens and try to learn something about yourself and the world. The Gagaku audience does not physically take part in the performance, but their thoughts and feelings are considered necessary to the performance itself. Taggart's recent poems invite just this sort of participation from their audience. The audience is asked not so much to watch an event as play an integral, creative part in it. You may not have written the poems, but the poems are constructed so that a large part of the creative process happens in your psyche: your thoughts and feeling, your creative imagination, and your essential goodwill are necessary to the work itself.

Table of Contents, Paper Air magazine, Vol. 1, Number 2, 1979. Edited by Gil Ott:

    5    PEACE ON EARTH............................................john TAGGART
    52   57th Light Poem: For John Taggart......................jackson MAC LOW
    46   with John Taggart..............................................gil OTT
    3    Spirit Image, Kerry Clouds, Peace on Earth:
           A Few Old Memories & New Thoughts
           about John Taggart........................................toby OLSON
    55   Toward PEACE ON EARTH.......................................karl YOUNG
    59   The Poet as Composer: an inquiry
           into the work of John Taggart........................rochelle RATNER
    64   The Poetry of John Taggart................................david MILLER
    67   Dodeka....................................................paul METCALF
    68   Dodeka....................................................craig WATSON
    69   from Organum.............................................bruce ANDREWS
    72   selected bibliography of John Taggart

Click here to go to the poems Slow Song for Mark Rothko and Iside Out.

The Poet as Composer: an inquiry into the work of John Taggart copyright © 1995 by Rochelle Ratner.

toward Peace on Earth copyright © 1995 by Karl Young.

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