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John Cage’s Mesostics

Here’s a good introductory essay on John Cage’s Mesostics, a form of writing that he invented based on chance operation and the use of letters to determine the flow of an algorithm. A mesostic is like an acrostic, except that rather than having the letters appear in the front of a word, they go down the middle (see the mesostic on “James Joyce” that is treated in this article).

Cage was primiarly known as a “musician,” but as the image below shows, he moved around literature and visual art (he’s done chance operated paintings and installations) pretty easily. He’s a really good one to have in the back of your mind as you think of your projects.


This is not a reading assignment, by the way, just something I thought interesting. Perhaps we’ll discuss it down the line.

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