Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Anne Tardos Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0770
45 Linear feet
(66 archives boxes, 16 records cartons, 1 flat box, 1 map case folder, 4 films)
of digital files
Date (inclusive): 1937-2014 (bulk 1960-2014)
Abstract: Papers of Anne Tardos (1943-), a multilingual poet, composer, and artist. The collection documents Tardos's highly collaborative
creative process, especially her decades-long partnership with poet Jackson Mac Low. Her papers include personal documents;
correspondence with friends, family, and colleagues; manuscripts of poetry, essays and talks; writings of others, especially
Jackson Mac Low; materials gathered and created for conferences, exhibitions, concerts, interviews and other events; ephemera;
and extensive audiovisual and digital media.
Scope and Content of Collection
Papers of Anne Tardos (1943-), a multilingual poet, composer, and artist. The collection documents Tardos's highly collaborative
creative process, especially her decades-long partnership with poet Jackson Mac Low, and ingenuity and originality in digital
artwork. Her papers include personal documents; correspondence with friends, family, and colleagues; manuscripts of poetry,
essays and talks; writings of others, especially Jackson Mac Low; materials gathered and created for conferences, exhibitions,
concerts, interviews and other events; ephemera; and extensive audiovisual and digital media. Prominent correspondents include
Ay-O, Steve Benson, Carol Bergé, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Simone Forti, Lyn Hejinian, Geoff Hendricks, Jackson Mac Low, Charlotte
Moorman, Joan Retallack, Larry Rosing and Nancy St. Paul, Jerome Rothenberg, Anne Waldman, and Rosmarie Waldrop.
Arranged in ten series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, 4) ARTWORK, PRINTS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS, 5)
WRITINGS OF OTHERS, 6) INTERVIEWS, 7) PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS, 8) PROGRAMS, POSTERS, AND FLYERS, 9) AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS,
AND 10) DIGITAL MEDIA.
Poet, composer, and visual and performance artist Anne Tardos was born in Cannes, France in 1943. She grew up in Paris, Budapest,
and Vienna, developing fluency in French, Hungarian, German, and English before moving to New York in 1966. Her parents were
both artistic: her father a writer of fiction and her mother a radio producer and speaker which, Tardos says, is a kind of
performance art. Both parents were fervent communists and then, disillusioned, just as fervently anticommunist. This lack
of philosophical continuity during her formative years is a reason, Tardos believes, that she isn't inclined toward political
commitment or to trust any belief system that offers certainty, a stance that was greatly reinforced by the destruction on
September 11, 2001 of the World Trade Centers, located a few blocks south of her Tribeca home on North Moore Street.
Tardos pioneered a unique multilingual writing style, and often complemented her texts with video stills, photographs, and
collages. Her writing is renowned for its fluid use of multiple languages and its innovative forms. She has worked in numerous
media, creating performance pieces, radio plays, videos, and musical compositions.
In 1975, Tardos met poet and composer Jackson Mac Low. In 1980, they began a decades-long collaboration composing, writing,
and performing poetry and music, and they married in 1990. In addition to numerous live performances, their collaborative
and individual works have been featured on numerous radio programs in the United States and in Europe, including WNYC-FM and
Westdeutscher Rundfunk. The nature of their artistic collaboration can be suggested by music critic Anthony Tommasini's description
of their jointly composed piece "For Dick Higgins" as "a sound collage of spoken texts, vocal effects and an occasional struck
bell, performed by the two composers."
Hejinian begins Tardos interview with a similar observation: "You have worked in an enormous variety of artistic mediums…and
in mixed media and cross-genre forms of your own invention." Tardos herself has said of her writing process, "The text becomes
music and the writer becomes a composer who listens." Adding to this aesthetic amalgam is the fact that many of her poems
are multilingual, using French, Hungarian, and German as well as English words and passages.
Before, during, and after her marriage to Mac Low (which ended with his death in 2004), Tardos pursued many solo endeavors
as well. A typical example of a "found sound composition" is her 1975 recording of the sounds her refrigerator made as she
defrosted it, which she then overlaid with a series of her own vocalizations, creating in effect a Duet with Refrigerator.
She has illustrated covers of many small press publications, her texts have been set to music by several contemporary composers,
and her visual work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art and galleries in New
York, Paris, and elsewhere.
Her publications continue to demonstrate new ways in which disparate media can be creatively partnered. As the esteemed critic
Marjorie Perloff has written, "Tardos plays with every possible verbal/visual/ musical relationship…and can work magic with
the…tension between high art and 'ordinary' signage." And as Hejinian has succinctly stated, "Your work throughout is exemplary
of what is truly 'innovative.'"
Tardos married the composer Michael Byron in 2012.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Anne Tardos Papers, MSS 770. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Original films, sound recordings and digital media are restricted. Researchers may request user copies be produced in advance.
Jackson Mac Low Papers, MSS 180. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
The collection includes 274 digital sound recordings. A list of the file names is available upon request.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Women poets -- United States
American poetry -- 20th century
Tardos, Anne -- Archives
Hejinian, Lyn -- Correspondence
Mac Low, Jackson
Smith, Monty W., 1944- -- Correspondence
Retallack, Joan -- Correspondence