Sunday, 24 May 2015

Anne Waldman

As Lorenzo Thomas summarised in his essay for the Jacket special edition dedicated to Anne Waldman:
 "Her work ranges, with equal power and feeling, from the personal love lyric and deep moral contemplation to protest against the infernal industry and mindless destructiveness represented by nuclear weapons factories.”
It is probably safe to say that Anne Waldman is one of the most important poets of her generation. She started her career as a poet after attending the 1965 Berkeley Poetry conference, where she attended reading by Charles Olsen, Robert Duncan and Allen Ginsberg. It was particularly the latter who proved an important influence in her life. Yet it would be foolish to call Waldman simply a Beat poet. Hers is instead a very unique style, strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, and its form and presentation are much closer to oral poetics and performance-related poetry.

Waldman founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado together with Ginsberg in 1974. A year later, she was “poet in residence” with Bob Dylan’s famed concert tour, the Rolling Thunder Revue. From 1966 until 1978 she ran the St. Mark’s Poetry Project and has published a total of more than forty books of poetry.

My below piece is based upon her famous “Fast Speaking Woman” (1974) part of which can be heard on PennSound 

Links: (Mainly dedicated to Anne Waldman’s work)

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