The Twin Plays: Port-au-Prince & Adams County Illinois

Jackson Mac Low

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This pamphlet is comprised of a pair of structurally identical plays, each composed by means of chance operations around the time of the editing and publication of An Anthology of Chance Operations by Mac Low with La Monte Young. Each play is made up of five partially improvised conversations in which the dialogue is derived from a highly restricted lexicon: the first uses words made from the letters that spell out the word “Port-au-Prince” to construct nonsensical “pseudo-sentences,” while the second play consists entirely of folk idioms from the titular rural region. The Twin Plays was Mac Low’s first book, originally self-published in 1963.

Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear Pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as a “poor man’s keys to the new art,” or a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.

5 x 8 inches
16 pages
Paperback
B&W
Open edition
December 2007