John Cage Further Reading - Essay

Further Reading

(Poetry Criticism)


Revill, David. The Roaring Silence: John Cage, A Life. New York: Arcade Publishing, 1992, 375 p.

Biography that seeks to demonstrate the interrelation of Cage's life with his work and thought.


Bruns, Gerald L. “Poethics: John Cage and Stanley Cavell at the Cross Roads of Ethical Theory.” In John Cage: Composed in America, edited by Marjorie Perloff and Charles Junkerman, pp. 206-25. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Explores the works and ideas of Cage and philosopher Stanley Cavell to illustrate the link between artistic expression and ethical considerations.

Cushing, James. “Zarathustra over America: Nietzschean Return, Self-Overcoming, and John Cage.” Denver Quarterly 29, no. 3 (winter 1995): 98-117.

Draws parallels between Friedrich Nietzsche's tale of Zarathustra and Cage's self-exploration and artistic endeavors.

Mac Low, Jackson. “Cage's Writing up to the Late 1980s.” In Writings through John Cage's Music, Poetry, and Art, edited by David W. Bernstein and Christopher Hatch, pp. 210-33. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Provides an overview of the structure and formulation of Cage's poems.

Pasler, Jann. “Inventing a Tradition: Cage's ‘Composition in Retrospect.’” In John Cage: Composed in America, edited by Marjorie Perloff and Charles Junkerman, pp. 125-43. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Analyzes Cage's mesostics and regards them as developing elements of Cage's innovative work in poetry.

Pritchett, James. “‘Joy and Bewilderment’ (1969-1992).” In The Music of John Cage, pp. 175-214. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Examines the connection between Cage's musical compositions, his poetic writings, and his attention to visual representation.

Retallack, Joan. “High Adventures of Indeterminacy.” Parnassus: Poetry in Review 11, no. 1 (spring-summer 1983): 253-63.

Examines Cage's views on the importance of sounds and nature in For the Birds, explores his experiments with Eastern philosophy and poetics, and analyzes the mesostics in Themes & Variations.

Richards, M. C. “John Cage and the Way of the Ear.” TriQuarterly 54 (spring 1982): 110-21.

Stresses the role of sound, silence, and musicality in Cage's works.

Ulmer, Gregory L. “The Objects of Post-Criticism.” In The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, edited by Hal Foster, pp. 83-110. Port Townsend, Wash.: Bay Press, 1983.

Investigates the performative aspects of Cage's poetics and discerns in Cage's writings the postmodernist blending and layering of various forms of artistic styles and media.

Additional coverage of Cage's life and career is contained in the following sources published by Thomson Gale: Contemporary Authors, Vols. 13-16R, 169; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vols. 9, 78; Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 41; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 193; and Literature Resource Center.