NYS Writers Institute, April 30, 2009
An energetic reader and performer, Waldman is also credited with helping to invent a crazed, exuberant, highly physical style of oratory that attracted the “MTV Generation” back to the art of poetry during the 1980s and 1990s. As a devoted student of Tibetan Buddhism, and of Buddhist Madhyamika philosophy—a process of thinking which deconstructs apparent reality—Waldman is also widely known for incorporating Buddhist ideas into her poetry.
Her latest poetry collection is “Manatee/Humanity” (2009). Forrest Gander of the Poetry Foundation described the title piece as “a cri de coeur for the non-human world.”
The book explores the nuances of inter-species communication and compassion. It draws on animal lore, animal encounters (with grey wolf and manatee), dreams, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and Buddhist ritual to render a text of remarkable sympathy, reciprocity, and power.
Waldman has also co-edited a new anthology with Laura Wright, “Beats at Naropa,” due to be published in June 2009. The book features never-before-collected interviews, essays and presentations from the Naropa Institute archives. Writer Joyce Johnson said, “This valuable anthology does not further embalm the ‘legend’ of the Beats. Instead it allows its readers to hear authentic voices.”
Waldman’s other recent poetry collections include “Red Noir” (2007), “Outrider” (2006), “Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble” (2004), “In the Room of Never Grieve: New & Selected Poems 1985 – 2003” (2003), and “Vow to Poetry: Essays, Interviews, & Manifestos” (2001). In 1995, City Lights Books published an expanded 20th Anniversary Edition of Waldman’s 1975 classic “Fast Speaking Woman: Chants and Essays,” featuring some of her best known spells, invocations, laments, and ritual rants.
Notable anthologies edited or co-edited by Waldman include “Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action” (2004), “The Beat Book” (1996), with an introduction by Allen Ginsberg, “Disembodied Poetics” (1994), and “Out of This World: An Anthology of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, 1966-1991” (1991).
Poet and rock musician Patti Smith has said, “When Allen Ginsberg passed from us it was Anne Waldman who dutifully gathered up his many burdens, continuing his work as poet, activist, and teacher. In following his example she has bloomed as an example herself. How fortunate we are to have her among us….”
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.