The Iovis Trilogy

Poems by Anne Waldman

“This dense, mythic, personal cycle that looks at life, relationships, and war is an altogether admirable achievement.” —Time Out New York

August 2011
7.5 x 10.1 | 720 pages
Hardcover Original

ISBN: 978-1-56689-255-1.



Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment

Published for the first time in its entirety, this major epic poem assures Anne Waldman’s place in the pantheon of contemporary poetry.

The Iovis Trilogy, Waldman’s monumental feminist epic, traverses epochs, cultures, and genres to create a visionary call to poetic arms. Iovis details the misdeeds of the Patriarch, and with a fierce imagination queries and subverts his warmongering. All of Waldman’s themes come into focus—friendship, motherhood, politics, and Buddhist wisdom. This is epic poetry that goes beyond the old injunction “to include history”—its effort is to change history.


“Begun in the 1980s, this mammoth work may be the summit of [Waldman’s] career and . . . an attempt at a new world history, a radical re-creation myth, an homage to Blake’s epics and Pound’s cantos, and a mystic or matriarchal answer to the male-dominated civilization that we have known. . . . A book to admire, to pay homage to, to get lost in, Waldman’s epic goes splendidly on and on, mixing the shamanistic with the diaristic, the topical with the prayerful, incorporating almost everything . . . ”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This Virgilian epic song, a vast written performance that must be acknowledged for its “orality of intention,” is an expression of knowledge—embodied and disembodied, material and transcendental, violent and pacifist, visionary and starkly realist, present and transhistorical. To read it, to move across its many pages, is to invite a demand for and a belief in freedom that is platonic and phonemic. The three books collected in The Iovis Trilogy . . . together show the force of Waldman’s galloping collection of forms as a vibration of knowledge through ceaseless experiment, a sensorium through which the roundness of self burrows in to win the furthest circumference.”—The Poetry Project Newsletter

“Waldman takes you by the collar and slams you down with language, image, and message, leaving you breathless and shattered in the aftermath of her incantatory vision. . . . The poems repeat themselves, wrap around themselves, glide through linguistic holes that only the poet herself could have seen. They trumpet, blare, and whisper vision upon vision of a world gone crazy with war and patriarchal mores, then proceed to share another vision, one of healing and peace. . . . This is a book of action, a poetic clarion call. Huge and weighty, it will be compared to The Cantos and Paterson. It is neither. It is Iovis; it is an act of incendiary love, and it stands alone.”—

“This dense, mythic, personal cycle that looks at life, relationships, and war is an altogether admirable achievement.” —Time Out New York

“This great work makes itself open to all, both for its great poetry and for the spiritual and familial contexts it presents.  This masterwork, Waldman’s masterpiece, presents itself independently and fully formed, at last, for anyone who can read the English language to peruse and enjoy and many surely will as time passes.  This great book’s time is now, however, after a gestation period apparently of over thirty years in its author’s mind and pen.  . . . Waldman’s Iovis is the first major epic to be completed in the twenty-first century and it is likely to remain one of the best as the century proceeds and other poets weigh in with theirs.”—A Gathering of the Tribes

“[An] epic, richly textured poem exploring the manifestations of patriarchy, braiding history and myth, Buddhist philosophy, and conversation snippets.” —The Shambhala Sun

“Encompassing over twenty years of personal, national, and international comportment, The Iovis Trilogy tracks familial and marital relationships, numerous wars, and encounters with other cultures and human visages, male and female, in person and via letter.” —Alice Notley

“Waldman’s achievement in Iovis is very real, a 1000 page epic poem by a major American woman poet…The discipline and the range of the task here are truly awe-inspiring.” A Gathering of the Tribes

“We are lovely people for each other when we read Iovis together. We are forces of good together.”Jacket2

Special Thanks

The publication of The Iovis Trilogy was made possible through the generous contributions of the following individuals. For a complete list of Coffee House Press supporters, at all levels, please visit the SUPPORT page.

Bill Berkson and Connie Lewallen               Mary and Dave Kite

Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee Laufer      Allan and Cinda Kornblum

Ed Bowes                                                      Karen Koch

Rebecca Brown                                             Daniel Machlin and Serena Jost

Ambrose Bye and Alexis Myre                     Harry Mathews

Steven Clay and Julie Harrison                     Gillian McCain

Andrei and Laura Codrescu                          Jim Moore and JoAnn Verburg

Rikki Ducornet                                             Charles and Paula North

Douglas Dunn                                                Ron and Pat Padgett

Mary Ebert and Paul Stembler                      Andrea and Joseph Satter


Chris Fischbach and Katie Dublinski           Jeffrey Scherer

Mimi Gross                                                    David and Lindsay Shapiro

Nor Hall and Roger Hale                              Kiki Smith

Bob Holman                                                Pat Steir and Joost Elfers

Laird Hunt and Eleni Sikelianos                  Stacy Szymaszek

Vincent and Vivien Katz                               Tony Towle

Alex and Ada Katz                                       Lewis Warsh and Katt Lissard

Nathan Kernan                                            Warren Woessner and Iris Freeman

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