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Re and Not Re: an Editor's Note Ordinarily when I write mesostics I write about the person whose name is a row going down the middle of the text, though some are a collection of mesostics “re and not re” that person. —JOUN CAGE, Themes & Variations Any :ssue of Aufgabe, or any journal for that matter, is essentially “re and not re” x. However, this issue lends itself particularly well to that designation, given the unexpected intersections between the feature section, “1g Moroccan Poets,” guest edited by Guy Bennett and Jalal El Hakmaoui, and the main section, which is precisely “re and not re” “John Cage” by Norman O, Brown. Given as a lecture in celebration of John Cage’s seventy-fifth birthday at Wesleyan in 1988, and subsequently published in the Bucknell Review, “John Cage at Seventy-Five,”* Brown’s fiery interrogation of Cage’s poetics is itself “re and notre” John Cage. Included in this section, for example, are poets who knew Cage and/or Brown, as well as younger writers who were interested in responding to Brown’s lecture or exploring their own relationship to Cage. Solicitations for work were open-ended in order to generate a variety of responses to and interactions with this lecture. I am delighted to find resonances between the two sections (on an elemental level, for one), “...pregnant with every imaginable fuel/that defies my conquerors” (Rachida Madani, p. 49) and “...the pact forever sealed/Between yourself and essential/Fire” (Mohamed Hmoudane, p. 39), implicitly directing us to the question: “Where then/Is the poem?” (Mehdi Akhrif, p. 21). I am also grateful to be reminded of the challenge presented by the work of both Brown and Cage, “the turn of attention from where you’re going to how you’re going to get there,” as Elizabeth Willis puts it in her response. This is the kind of attention I believe is present in the range of responses to Brown’s lecture—poems, essays, recollections, conversations, forays, and reckonings. ‘Thomas Brown was incredibly generous in his support of the reprinting of his father’s lecture, which appears in its original format. I thank the Brown family for permission to reprint the lecture with no restrictions as to the manner of publication, including all editorial decisions. It is in this spirit of openness that these works are presented—that is, this is not a definitive collection of criticism or interpretation, but a sampling, in the interest of encouraging ongoing engagement with the past, present and future: the ways we connect living to writing, writing to living. I am above all indebted to Richard K. Winslow for the opportunity to embark on this project. He has always been a steadfast supporter of my writing and editorial work, but in this case, he lit the fire. Brown’s own acknowledgement bears repeating: “The only true begetter of this occasion is Richard Winslow...” Mark Tardi was an invaluable second editor for this issue and Paul Foster Johnson a steady and meticulous copy editor. Many, many thanks. Aufgabe #5 is dedicated to the memory of Jackson Mac Low (1922-2004), whose response to Brown’s lecture I had hoped to include. — E. TRACY GRINNELL July 2005 *Bucknell University Press, 1989. v.32. no.2