Nonfiction by Anne Waldman
January 17, 2023 • 6 x 9 • 400 pages • 978-1-56689-669-6
The expansive, countercultural, and wildly prolific life of celebrated poet Anne Waldman, in her own words.
In Bard, Kinetic, Anne Waldman assembles a multifaceted portrait of her life and praxis as a groundbreaking poet. Waldman charts her journey through a maelstrom of radical artistic activity: growing up in Greenwich Village, creative partnership with Allen Ginsberg, touring with Bob Dylan, and founding the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and later, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. She discusses the philosophies that guide her as a writer, activist, performer, instigator, and Buddhist practitioner, and pays homage to friends and collaborators including Amiri Baraka, Lou Reed, John Ashbery, Kathy Acker, and Diane di Prima. Waldman’s experiences serve as a guide for others committed to making the world a conscious and conscientious place that soars with the discourse and activism of poetry and poethics.
About the Author
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 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry in 2012. Other books include Trickster Feminism, Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born, Manatee/Humanity, Gossamurmur, Jaguar Harmonics, and the anthologies Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (co-edited with Laura Wright) and New Weathers: Poetics from the Naropa Archive (co-edited with Emma Gomis). She is a recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Before Columbus Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Waldman has engaged with cultural and political activism throughout her career and was arrested with Daniel Ellsberg and Allen Ginsberg at Rocky Flats in the 1970s. She has been at the forefront for many decades in creating poetic communities and archiving precious literary histories and oral recordings of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She was one of the founders of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and a founder (with Diane di Prima and Ginsberg) of the celebrated Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, the first Buddhist-inspired university in the West, where she continued as director for many years and now curates the Summer Writing Program. She has taught and presented at schools, conferences, and festivals worldwide. Waldman is also a respected musician; Patti Smith called her latest album, 2020’s Sciamachy, “Exquisitely potent. A psychic shield for our times.” Her libretto for David T. Little’s Black Lodge had its premiere at Opera Philadelphia in October 2022.
Praise for Bard, Kinetic
“Rather than a memoir . . . this energetic assemblage creates its own fragmented chronology, looping through the whirlwind of contexts—literary, political, spiritual, familial—that constitute Waldman’s immense bardic self.” —Nick Sturm, Poetry Foundation
“Literary boundary-pushers require loyalty, understanding, and close attention from their readers, and this compendium is no exception. . . . The text rewards readers with moments of oracular clarity.” —Kirkus
“Anne Waldman has tirelessly cleared the path for many of us for decades. She is our epitome of the word onward, which means to move forward in a continuous motion, never stopping because surrender is out of the question! Waldman's extensive study of the global perception of the Sixth Extinction through the lives of poets comes to light in this powerful new book, which is a record of the cycles of cosmic transit! She writes, ‘Feeling everyone’s kinetics in that zone. But also all together swimming in a database. Imagine.’” —CAConrad
“Kinetic, yes. Prophetic also. Boundlessly generous, of course. This is the Anne Waldman I know. What a pleasure it is to find everything here: every ancestral memory, every important question, every exhortation to stay human in an inhumane century. If you are curious about the value of poets and poetry, peer into this magic mirror, drink from this deep and wide and entirely remarkable archive.” —Lisa Jarnot
“I am tempted to describe the genius of the work in these radiant pages with a bounty of adjectives, but that would be a disservice to its restless momentum. Besides, Anne Waldman doesn’t settle for nouns and their obsequious companions. More than dance in the range of numinous texts collected here, her intellect spins ferociously, shaking off the patriarchy’s layers of concealment one after another. For Gertrude Stein, another towering figure in the Outrider lineage, ‘writing should go on.’ For Waldman it must do so as well, but further than the page and into the world. Goading us is just one of her gifts. To read her is to be humbled by the breadth of her vocation, to be jolted into alertness.” —Mónica de la Torre
“Sweeping and intimate, fierce and electric, Anne Waldman is seer, muse, and sage feminist, fast-talking on all frequencies. Bard, Kinetic is a collection of poems; deep, sharp, generous portraits; feminafestos; and ecstatic rants in her many voices. She notices, expounds, narrates, yodels. The book is full of questions. It’s urgent, physical, ancient and utterly contemporary. What to name the child of the crossroad? Poetry! Her words dance and spin through sources (the Tarot, The Tibetan Book of the Dead) and places (New York, Boulder, India). Words that come to mind: Sanctuary. Old growth trees. The mind and heart of poetry. What a colossal life and what a monumental, unforgettable book.” —Laurie Anderson
Praise for Anne Waldman:
Winner of the 2015 American Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award
“A major poet.” —Allen Ginsberg
“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 and may we all reach out and take a small amount of her burden upon ourselves.” —Patti Smith
“Anne Waldman's voice is epic, mythic and above all, wild. She gives us direct courage from the force of her great heart. Her words: sacred text.” —Terry Tempest Williams
“An essential poet of our time.” —CA Conrad
“Wit, real teaching and speed all meet up here. . . . Anne Waldman’s poetry being nothing but the eye and sound of prophecy itself.” —Eileen Myles
“On the map from east to west and across the scale from treble to bass, Anne Waldman is possessed with a passion to witness, to understand, and to describe. . . . Enlightening, challenging, and crucial to the American tradition.” —Lisa Jarnot
“Reading Waldman is like being in the world today. . . . It’s easy to feel drawn to this poet’s idealism and generosity of spirit.” —Daisy Fried, The New York Times
“The legitimate heir to Allen Ginsberg’s crown as America’s underground ‘poet-ambassador’ laureate.” —Colorado Springs Independent
“Waldman’s epic goes splendidly on and on, mixing the shamanistic with the diaristic, the topical with the prayerful, incorporating almost everything.” —Publishers Weekly
“Waldman, a major force with more than 40 books of poetry and poetics, remains committed to experiment, cross-cultural and countercultural engagement, and verse that simply sings.” —Library Journal
“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.” —Chris Faatz, Powell’s Books