Message Ahead


Message Ahead is a companion to the collection of poetry, Words Apart and Others, featuring twenty-one distinguished poets and critics, friends and admirers, reflecting on Mekas's pioneering contribution to contemporary art and culture, as the "godfather of the American avant-garde."


Jonas Mekas. Saying the name brings home a range of agitating mind sensations, mainly an accumulation of often challenging film experience from the last half-century. Practically a rubric for the whole phenomenon of radically new cinema, it's an experienced name, coming to us with compressed suggestion—that is, a name with its own poetics. If saying it now resonates for me in new ways without entirely losing the old ways, it's on account of having read his poetry.

—George Quasha


Over his long lifetime, Jonas Mekas has adhered to a radical aesthetic of openness, and the poetry he has made into books and films posts clear-cut markers along the trail as his journey continues...The poet Jonas Mekas creates durable works, and fellow poets gather here to appraise, for clarity and currency, certain of the poems he has published.

—Vyt Bakaitis


Oh Jonas, I walk the muddy roads with you, take stock of the brush by the wayside. Note the small blue flowers that pinch through the soil. The poems, like the rush of clouds overhead, are on the move. The sky turns pale then blue then indigo. The lamp is lit, then extinguished. The wind sighs against the eaves of the house, the trees croak in unison, your words are like stepping stones through an ancient river bed, where the waters swirl, then ebb, then fall away to a stony, dry, empty place that suddenly wells up with emotions, so simple, so basic, like bread, like milk, like wine.

—Penny Arcade 


In the Rail

An interview with Jonas Mekas.

An exhibition of Jonas Mekas’s work reviewed.

More articles by Jonas Mekas.




9. A Timeline

10. Vyt Bakaitis For Openers

12. John Godfrey Jonas Mekas

20. Yoshimasu Gōzō The Miracle That Is Mekas

22. Barry Schwabsky A Note on Cinematic Time in Poetry

28. Charity Coleman A Place for a Bird

30. James Sherry Mekas’s Idylls

36. William Benton The Idylls of Semeniškiai

41. Kimberly Lyons At the Gates of Paradise: On the poetry of Jonas Mekas 

57. Krzysztof Czyżewski MEKASPOET

66. Lina Vitkauskas Aš turiu kažkur eiti (I have someplace to go)

71. Brenda Iijima An Archive of Fleeting Pathos, Daybooks 1970–72

85. Yuko Otomo The Daybooks of Jonas Mekas

99. Basil King Dear Vyt,

104. Steve Dalachinsky MEKS/LENS/On Daybooks and other poems

108. Carter Ratcliff Jonas Mekas, American: Notes on Words Apart

120. Kristin Prevallet “Words Apart”: A Mekas Reflection

133. George Quasha The Mekas Effect

148. Bob Holman For Jonas Mekas: All Covered in Blue Distances

155. Benjamin Sloan Without Any Constraints: Several Shorter Untitled Poems by Jonas Mekas in the Company of Aharon Appelfeld

164. Lee Ann Brown & Louise Landes-Levi Words for a Poet Fiming /

183. Penny Arcade On Jonas Mekas

187. Sparrow Jonas in Church


Texts: John Godfrey, Yoshimasu Gōzō, Barry Schwabsky, Charity Coleman, James Sherry, William Benton, Kimberly Lyons, Krzysztof Czyżewski, Lina Vitkauskas, Brenda Iijima, Yuko Otomo, Basil King, Steve Dalachinsky, Carter Ratcliff, Kristin Prevallet, George Quasha, Bob Holman, Benjamin Sloan, Lee Ann Brown & Louise Landes Levi, Penny Arcade, Sparrow

Edited by: Vyt Bakaitis

Price: $22

Pages: 192 pp.

Cover: Soft cover, designed by Mike Tully

Language: English

Publisher: Rail Editions

Published year: 2018


ISBN: 978-0-9907881-5-7