11/15/11

When a Cage Falls

Is he lying?

     "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry as I need it."
                       -John Cage.
    
     The most amazing thing about this statement is that Cage was in the forest when he said it and there was no one around to hear him. The original citation has baffled critics for decades. Cage, meanwhile, has admitted to being alone but is unsure whether or not he fell while he was speaking. Conjecture ran rampant as soon as the citation appeared, and the controversy escalated quickly.
     At Naropa Universtity's Summer Writing Program later that year, Cage felt compelled to defend himself: "Some have implied, or even assumed, that I fell that day in the forest when I had nothing to say. I would like to state here that I am unsure if this is true, but resent the accusation nonetheless." Cage then went on to say that he had "nothing further to say and he was saying it again." When asked whether or not this further nothing was poetry as well, he quipped awkwardly: "I don't need to say nothing else there I have said it."

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