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About this poet

A prominent figure in the beat poetry generation, Anne Waldman, was born in Millville, New Jersey, on April 2, 1945, and grew up on MacDougal Street in New York City. She received her BA from Bennington College in 1966. From 1966 until 1978 she ran the St. Mark's Poetry Project, reading with fellow poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. Immediately following her departure from St. Mark's, she and Ginsberg founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

She has published over forty books of poetry, including Gossamurmur (Penguin, 2013); The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House Press, 2011); Manatee/Humanity (Penguin, 2009); Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble (Penguin, 2004); In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, 1985–2003 (Coffee House Press, 2003); Dark Arcana / Afterimage or Glow (Heaven Bone Press, 2003), with photographs by Patti Smith; Vow to Poetry (Coffee House Press, 2001); Marriage: A Sentence (Penguin, 2000); Kill or Cure (Penguin, 1994); Iovis: All Is Full of Love (Coffee House Press, 1993); Helping the Dreamer: New and Selected Poems 1966–1988 (Coffee House Press, 1989); Fast Speaking Woman (City Lights Pocket Poets Series, 1974); and Baby Breakdown (Bobbs-Merrill, 1970). Her work can also be found in numerous films, videos, and sound recordings.

She is also editor of the anthologies The Beat Book (Shambhala, 1996) and The World Anthology: Poems From the St. Mark's Poetry Project (Bobbs-Merrill, 1969), and coeditor of Angel Hair Sleeps With A Boy In My Head (Granary Books, 2001) and Disembodied Poetics: Annals of the Jack Kerouac School (University of New Mexico Press, 1993). She has also co-translated Songs of The Sons & Daughters of Buddha (Shambhala, 1996), a book of traditional Buddhist scripture originally in Sanskrit and Prakrit, with Andrew Schelling, among others.

Waldman has received numerous awards and honors for her poetry, including the Dylan Thomas Memorial Award, the National Literary Anthology Award, the Shelley Memorial Award for poetry, and grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a two-time winner of the International Poetry Championship Bout in Taos, New Mexico. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2011.

Currently Waldman is the director of the MFA Writing and Poetics program at the Naropa Institute. She divides her time between Boulder, Colorado, and Greenwich Village, New York City.


Selected Bibliography

Gossamurmur (Penguin, 2013)
The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House Press, 2011)
Manatee/Humanity (Penguin, 2009)
Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble (Penguin, 2004)
In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, 1985–2003 (Coffee House Press, 2003)
Dark Arcana / Afterimage or Glow (Heaven Bone Press, 2003)
Vow to Poetry (Coffee House Press, 2001)
Marriage: A Sentence (Penguin, 2000)
Kill or Cure (Penguin, 1994)
Iovis: All Is Full of Love (Coffee House Press, 1993)
Helping the Dreamer: New and Selected Poems 1966–1988 (Coffee House Press, 1989)
Fast Speaking Woman (City Lights Pocket Poets Series, 1974)
Baby Breakdown (Bobbs-Merrill, 1970)


Multimedia

From the Image ArchiveAudio: Waldman reads "The Raven"

 

Alphabet of Mother Language

Anne Waldman, 1945

If Kali were a car, what kind of car would she be? A Batmobile? She, as primordial vehicle. She with emanations to wiles of any mother. She with hair on fire. Mouth a flame with wrathful breath. This is the feminine speaking, this is the mouth and body and curse of the female. See her on the street, in the subway, at the endless-wait terminal. She waiting. Many storms of waiting. Just below the surface. Red eyes, gaping mouth, lolling tongue. Definition in a defining way the deafening roar of Kali which is the roar of Time. She is Time. And She devours Time. Naked Time. Naked Kali. She is an open system. She eats energy and manifests energy. No concept need apply. She is the flickering tongue of Agni, fire. She is the mother of language and mantra. She is all 51 letters of the Devanagari alphabet, each letter a form of energy, a twinge of energy, a torque of energy. Each letter a star, each letter a sign, each letter an empyrean gesture, each letter a captured sound, each letter a resolve, each letter a rune, each letter a whiplash, each letter a scorching brand, each letter a flame, each letter a twitch, each letter a bundle of firewood, each letter a thirsty pioneer, each letter a charnel ground, each letter a rice harvest, each letter a cooking pot, each letter a treasure, each letter a tide now rising, each letter an eolithic moon, each letter a sun in shadow, each letter a love affair, each letter a possible mistake, each letter a symbol of change, each letter a wheel, each letter a wheel of change, each letter a triumph, each letter a solar wind, each letter a storm, each letter a cameo appearance, each one a treaty, each one a place where plutonium safely resides, each one an hedrumite resolution, each one an epitrope, each one an orchestra of many gongs, each one an evening, a morning with snow, a morning with scorching heat, each one a necessary tribulation, each one a massacre that will be revealed, each one a torture that will be revealed, each letter a bamboo thicket, each one a candle lit to all the deities in all ten directions of space, each one a pillow, a mat, a blanket, each one a water buffalo, each one a bride, each one a hag, each letter a palpable hit...

From The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment. Copyright © 2010 by Anne Waldman. Used with permission of the author.

From The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment. Copyright © 2010 by Anne Waldman. Used with permission of the author.

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman

A prominent figure in the beat poetry generation, Anne Waldman has published over forty books of poetry and is the cofounder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

by this poet

poem


“the tongues of dying men/enforce attention like deep harmony.”
                                                                   —W.S. Shakespeare

 in memoriam LeRoi Jones/ Amiri Baraka 1934-2014



who wakes you up
bad scenic tapestry
dove barely
poem
the v of them                                                            wind

   a chevron                                                            claw

      zigzag                                                            bird

         against wind                                                  a
poem
Help me to cross the bardo's dangerous pathway...(Tibetan Book of the Dead)

John Cage was a new or short or longer pause suppliant. John Cage was a friend to brains of the two sexes, to Buddha, to eat him, destroy him. John Cage as John Cage was, sat down. Rest not, Tetrapod