Best known as an avant-garde composer, John Cage spent his entire life writing, a fact often overshadowed by his achievements in music. “A Year from Monday,” an anthology of lectures and poems originally published in ’67, proves that genius is never bound to medium; his written work gives a glimpse into his creative mind.
Much of “A Year” is in the form of a ‘literary mosaic,’ Cage’s method of essentially compiling diary entries into a somewhat cohesive, visually-striking composition. Every fragment serves as a single thought or anecdote, sometimes referring to others but more often not. What results is a clear train of thought, laid out on a beautifully constructed page, allowing the reader to follow his ideas not as something he is telling you, but as an ideology that he is guiding you to find for yourself.
Perhaps most valuable to fans of Cage’s music, his lecture to the Julliard class of ’52 serves as a manifesto of his understanding of sound. The piece, metrically arranged in columns to time to David Tudor’s piano playing, uses Buddhist anecdotes to attempt to explain his profound understanding of everything musical.
Pick it up on Amazon to curl up with some brain food.