Volume 13: Silence/Presence

Editors' Note

“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.” 
–John Cage, from Silence: Lectures and Writings

“Is this what poetry is, letting what is there be there, radiantly, all of it? When we become involved with ‘all of it,’ we are likely to get tuned in on hidden matters. We are likely to begin to hear things.” 
–M.C. Richards, from Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person

It has been nearly a decade since the last time the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies published a volume about John Cage. This past fall, the ReVIEWING BMC International Conference returned (after a year’s public-health-crisis-induced pause) and revisited Cage as well. This volume includes articles developed from conference presentations, as well as other contributions which, Cage-like, plunge the depths of silence, and find richness in the sounds and stories that appear where there may have first seemed absence. 

The contributors to this volume look past the noise, seeking instead what is present at the spaces between, at the edges, above, below. 

These authors and artists de-center the common perspective—such as a way of telling a historical narrative, a way of looking at an object, or a way of experiencing sound—and amplify the possibilities lying just beyond what we take for granted. 

Join us as we attend to these spaces of not-so-silent silence, in which we can find creative inspiration, social insight, and historical understanding.

–Thomas E. Frank + Carissa Pfeiffer, Co-Editors (journalbmcstudies@gmail.com)

Table of Contents

Thomas E. Frank + Carissa Pfeiffer, Co-Editors
Kate Averett, Production Editor

April 2022

Essay: Silence Prevails: East Village Community Gardens During the Pandemic by Aki Onda
Article: “a limit of the world”: Violence and Silence in Cage and Wittgenstein by Oliver Perrott-Webb
Poetry: viewing josef albers’ formulation: articulation, folio 1 / folder 14 by Gideon Young
Essay: What Constitutes Silence? by Blanca Bercial
Poetry: I don’t know by Tom Murphy (performed by Tom Murphy and Ted Pope)
Article: A Quaker History of Black Mountain College by Alex Ates
Artwork: Runescores: Scoring Indeterminacy by Callous Physical Theatre (Josephine Garibaldi and Paul Zmolek)
Article: Woman and/as Myth in Loba: Di Prima’s “Open Field” as Poetic Process and Feminist Praxis by Jessica Covil-Manset
Essay: The Art of Patience and Hesitation by Maria Chavez
Article: Black Mountain College: Eclipsing the Local in Artworld Memory by Topher Lineberry
Poetry: For John Cage on his 75th birthday (1987) by M.C. Richards
Video essay: The Space Between: John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Stefan Wolpe and Bill Viola by Paul Beaudoin


Cover Image: Aki Onda, Fireman’s Community Garden, 2020 (edited)

The authors (or their estates, and/or publishers) retain full copyright to the texts and media appearing herein,
which may not be reproduced elsewhere without their express permission.