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Poet-to-Poet: Anne Waldman, From "Manatee/Humanity"

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"

 

from Manatee/Humanity [1]

Anne Waldman, 1945
sing manatee, manatee (you’d better praise all you can he said) all the trembling day


& passing before her captivity
		reiterating a chant of manatee
I began

the manatee is found in shallow slow-moving rivers

the manatee moves in estuaries moves in saltwater bays

the manatee in moving moves gently

the manatee is to be found in canals & coastal areas

the manatee is a migratory animal

the manatee is gentle & slow moving

the manatee in slow-moving rivers slowly

the manatee is completely herbivorous

the West Indian manatee has no natural enemies

the manatee has no natural enemies but unnatural man

the manatee is constantly threatened by man unnaturally

man with his boats & plastic & attitude

the manatee often drowns in canal locks of man

man who makes no concession to manatee

the manatee dies in flood control structures

man who makes no concession to manatee nor cares of manatee

From Manatee/Humanity. Copyright © 2009 by Anne Waldman. Reprinted by permission of the author.

From Manatee/Humanity. Copyright © 2009 by Anne Waldman. Reprinted by 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
woman never under your thumb, says
skull that was a head, says
bloodshot eyes, says

I’m the Kali woman the killer woman
women with salt on her tongue

fire that cleans
fire that catches
fire burns hotter as I go

woman traded her secrets never, says
woman reversed the poles, says
woman never left America to
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

poem
you no longer believe in anything
movement of train, mauve waves
grammar's anomie
gets you down or
war at the back and crown of head
PsyOps, o chicken little the sky! the sky!
o the fallen sky an edge of blue
hanging but
still breathing those colors?
a garden broken & restored many times
how often trying to