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Recorded at the Chancellors Reading, Poets Forum 2015. NYU Skirball Center. New York City.

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 Trickster Feminism (Penguin, 2018); Voice's Daughter of a Heart Yet to be Born (Coffee House Press, 2016); Gossamurmur (Penguin, 2013); The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House Press, 2011); Manatee/Humanity (Penguin, 2009); 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); 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 American Book Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award, 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

Trickster Feminism (Penguin, 2018)
Voice's Daughter of a Heart Yet to be Born (Coffee House Press, 2016)
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)


Audio: Waldman reads "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe


Dirge South

South in the spectrum events. Murderous events. Good South the longer warrior. Not Bad south, unreconstructed warrior. Get ready room, for hell. Untethered hatred. Sky aflame, stars aligned for the non-rational. Desponded map. Down under. A long forgiving. A long forgiving and then reckoning. Long long. Who forgive? Would she? Would they? would he? Mothers and fathers, forgive? Bother and sisters, forgive? See the big picture. Ethno-historical days. A sum. We do holy ritual and turning. We do secular ritual, turning. We continue you, Dear murdered. This is domestic terrorism.

Body holy blackness. Holy holy blackness. Holy holy dark continent in the cross dream of liberation. But there in collective groan longer longer groan, a vision. You want psyche? You cross a world together. Sing of victims and crime. You curse you will not sing. Must not sing. Then must sing, sing the evil down. Sing centuries unmitigated disaster. Rive it. Hundred year plan? Thousand year plan? Withers without your spirit. And all go down. And all and all go down. And white go down. Do something white body, and white go down. And all go down. What genocide. Any room for poetry? And the Navajo poet lowers his head, children, he says, in this time: room for poetry? This time. Sorry sorry sorry hominid. What? This is domestic terrorism.

Walls. Wall you are up against, all all. O it, murder, detail, all of it. Emmanuel, o come. Could tell: rupture, scream. What next? Sing. Could tell it’s over us, wash, come over us. Emmanuel. O come, o come. Leader, minister, senator. Young man dead in his time. Then all lay in blood. Washed in the blood. Unsolved. Rip again. Structure of rip. The architectures that won't work. That rip. That rot. Renewal? Saints in heaven. The disappearing. Erased. All the saints in heaven down on their knees for this.

Apotheosis. The Nine. Assumption of bodies. Too familiar. Lift. Innocents when you go to slaughter. Broke down into violence. Degeneration. Up against and scream. Pressurizing brain, and mount, ghosts begging for light, Mount in the heat. Pile up. Layers of atrocity in the House of the Lord. What law will bind, hold back slaughter of innocents. O you syndicates of samsara breed genocide proud genocide flag of murderer. Insignias and shells of hatred proud to wear by the weak and damned. Room for poetry? This is domestic terrorism.

The Nine: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.

For rest, for succor, arrive, arrive. When they say never coming, then arrive. Eruption of chaos. Then arrive. Blood and twin to the universe, always, chaos? Arrive. How many guns can you buy today? Locked in a cabin’s chaos, like fever, a cosmos of endarkenment. Mask, mine or yours. Masked in privilege. Turning around as word in the mouth, sobs try to get out. Take off. Sob me a river. Language is biodegradable. Gone south, a dirge south. Rotted man inside takes it down. Legion of terrorism this land. Infernal descents. In-born terrorism. Wake up. Hold it up. Arrive.

Insulated? Never. American soil saturated with the blood of the innocents. These are the holders, will hold. They will. Hold. O blessings, o dark lamb, come. Come. Come. Hold. Come, o dark lamb. Help me Jesus. Help us Jesus. Whatever the way. Hold. Hold. Shake shake these white bodies down. Arise or all go down. And Help us Buddha, help us Yaweh, Help us Mohammed, Help us Brahma, Help us Confucius. Dark Lamb on the way.


Copyright © 2016 by Anne Waldman. Used with permission of the author. 

Copyright © 2016 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. She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2011 to 2016.

by this poet


A trio of instruments you love the notes
indissectible & extending small rockets of delight
force to love, be loved, love accelerating
love momentum, the love to travel
we will never agree the world contains
so much phenomena we’ll put on glasses
abstract it give it structure make



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Standing in front of the Canelleto of Venice’s “ghetto vecchio”, “ghetto”  the word for “foundry,”contemplating those arms and harms. I sit down in ghetto, I sit here in ghetto vecchio.

And metal was cast in the dream of the ghetto and metal was forged for cannons 1390 in “ur” in “pre” in the