Waldman appropriates the idea of Blake’s unborn spirit of Thel to explore artists’ and activists’ roles during the Anthropocene.
Coming in the wake of her vast and magnificent epic (The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment), this volume brings Anne Waldman’s work into the more intimate, paradoxical folds of poetic (and prophetic) knowledge. This should not suggest that Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born is a book of small things; it is anything but. Juxtaposing lyric arcana, journalism, critical fragments, visions of mythic and mystic beings, narrative, polemics, and even ekphrasis, Waldman has created a work that is simultaneously jeremiad and psalm. It is, then, both fearful and celebratory, an epic of a ‘time before birth.’
From “Citadels Thel Leaves Ringing”:
We got to Mars. We circle asteroids with a strange anticipation. We go interstellar. We like the sound of wormhole. Its magic. Thel without footprint, without trace, desiccated, desolate, nothing around, nugatory. Thel who talks with worm. Thel a figment in the mind of becoming-in-life, of potential, of not-becoming-yet in-mind, just got dreamed up, a proposal is Thel’s gambit for one who would be cautious. Caution trumps curious.
Anne Waldman is the author of numerous volumes of poetry including the feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy, Colors in The Mechanism of Concealment which won the USA Pen Center Award for Poetry in 2012. Other recent books include Manatee/Humanity, Gossamurmur and Jaguar Harmonics , and the anthology CROSS WORLDS: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House Press 2014, co-edited with Laura Wright). She is a recipient of the Shelley Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She has been at the forefront of cultural activism, and one of the founders of the Poetry Project at St Marks Church In-the-Bowery and a co-founder with Allen Ginsberg of the celebrated Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, the first Buddhist-inspired University in the west. Her work has been published, most recently in French and Finnish.
“Full of conscious and subconscious energy it bravely brings forth the diverse forces of our lives. It is a work of epic vision delivered as if in a trance of truth saying.” —New York Journal of Books, review
“In her ambitious new work, veteran poet Waldman (The Iovis Trilogy) celebrates an ascendant goddess perhaps reluctant to arrive, perhaps representing a necessary transcendence. . . She’s the voice, then, of conscience and salvation that has echoed throughout Waldman’s engaged work. When, in a protean rush of lines linked not by syntax but context, Waldman cites ‘a poetics of ecstasy / template for literary intervention” she’s defining her own fiery aesthetics.” —Library Journal, ”Summer Poetry: 13 Smart New Collections from Debut and Veteran Authors Alike”
“Waldman, a major force with more than 40 books of poetry and poetics, has roots in beat poetry and remains committed to experiment, cross-cultural and countercultural engagement, and verse that simply sings.” —Library Journal
“With one foot in the otherworldly and another planted firmly in reality, Waldman artfully places Thel’s quandary in the context of war, terrorism, police brutality, and the devastating consequences of capitalism.” —Publishers Weekly
“Waldman’s poetry—the words and the sound—is close to music, and really comes alive when read out loud.” —Entropy, review
“This is quite an extraordinary book.” —Galatea Resurrects
“To occupy, to refuse to be quieted, to look into the dark face of the present. Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Bornrecasts the cyclical patterns of William Blake’s Book of Thel in a dark meditation on endings, on revolution, on embodiment. In seeking to break the binaries of innocence and guilt that keep the current political news cycle spinning in place, Waldman chooses to search the deeper complicities of the war state for the transformative energy of a not-yet, unborn world. This poem is a place of grief and resistance, of improper questioning, and of explosive, irrefutable imperatives.” —Elizabeth Willis
“With attention to both the ancient and prophesy, Anne Waldman’s Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born is a grand listening, a discourse inside ecstatic presences, and a hermeneutics of those intermediary states just beyond ordinary knowing. As if written from a trance, this work has the texture of a new sacred text—distinctly feminist—as it speaks, as well, to our fraught contemporary moment filled with racial and gendered hatred, mass migration, penury, and global war and terror. It does this with a necessary urgency and the fresh eyes of Waldman’s sweeping intellect and an imagination/knowing that emerges from the dream space, the before space, the indeterminate call, the prescient utterances of the she who did not get to be. If your heart beats, if your hunger needs invigoration, then let Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born shift you as it did me. A truly altering experience.” —Dawn Lundy Martin
“Coming in the wake of her vast and magnificent epic (The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment), this volume brings Anne Waldman’s work into the more intimate, paradoxical folds of poetic (and prophetic) knowledge. This should not suggest that Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born is a book of small things; it is anything but. Juxtaposing lyric arcana, journalism, critical fragments, visions of mythic and mystic beings, narrative, polemics, and even ekphrasis, Waldman has created a work that is simultaneously jeremiad and psalm. It is, then, both fearful and celebratory, an epic of a ‘time before birth.’ Anne Waldman has long been willing to enter the dance of doubting, a dance intent on undoing doubt so as to bring about incipience. In this beautiful book, the labor of beginning is sung—indubitably.” —Lyn Hejinian