A n n e   W a l d m a n :   K e e p i n g   T h e   W o r l d   S a f e   F o r   P o e t r y

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 5 :   S p e c i a l   E d i t i o n






Anne in the air



What could be better than toasting Anne in the air between cities. I open my

computer on the tray table and the fact it is empty, red line around the

circumference of the blinking battery. I write Anne by hand. More than cake I like

pie because you make it by hand. I sat in Anne’s backyard once about 1998 eating

chicken like adults. I had arrived. We were talking about energy & she said she’s

probably going to die when Allen did like him because she lived her life in a similar

way. She meant constant touring & I thought of Anne’s flesh like a candle

shamelessly squat & low. I mean I’ve never thought of Anne as squat & low but I

understand burning one’s own flesh which frightened me in my forties having

decided not long before to not die of drugs & drinking seeing now one could die of

work. Though now I think not bad:  rather beautiful it being the crime the addiction

of the finest women. I know, the one Anne Waldman her. I came all over her latest

book her masterpiece, Gossamurmur. I’ve probably fallen down all over three books

of Anne’s out of the many, and most essentially of her who I never stop to think now

I will she is one of my all time favorite artist:  let’s say it now. The best. Anne’s the

best. Let’s say it now it’s delicious. Gossamurmur. Yep. I loved this book because

there was such humor in it and chicanery a double Anne it had a magical blinking

axis:  a myth of a book & like Anne it works. I hate messy long poet songs that do

nothing but think about themselves. This is a high functioning funny epic about

having a career, paranoia & power. It’s something else a masterpiece of late career.

Some artists pray for this book. Anne simply has it. I wish Anne would just rest and

be waited on by young poets & wild animals in the aftermath of this book. But she

won’t have it. No. She must go on. Travelling to China somewhere else. Singing her

candle low. Deep. Anne Waldman whale-ee-song. You did this to me. You know that

gem of mid career. Prose & poetry meet in the vestibule of love & hurt. Anne taught

me that a lover must be proud & show the world his/her wounds. Love is a

triumphant fancy the candle burns brightest maybe at love & birth  - birth of a

human, a poem. A star. Waldman! Wood’s man. What meanest “Anne”? I don’t know.

The early Waldman troubles me because I am for years in search of a line I have

remembered always:


It goes something like this:

O World! Come and see me when I’m young.


I love this line so much. Because this is Anne’s greatest claim of transparency.

Transparency which I think in poetry is a radical act – the turning of self into water,

being air and ur- 


& for me this line is Anne’s ur. Will she tell me where this line is?  It

means to me to be somewhere, on the earth, in a poem, to be full of action &

gesturing & somehow Stein-like cognizant of I am.


I think male poets don’t need this kind of epic. History always proudly

pointing at him & screaming: he.


A man in history is always taking it for the team which is humanity, starring him, so

his third person means first. But a woman in the deepest way must know. Otherwise

how else is she to go. And go on she must. My dream since I know her (Anne) is this

moment of her youngest, this my misquoting ardor:  that when she was a kid she

saw the whole show & like Tu Fu’s I am 6 she found ‘fame’ – the world’s

apprehending of you - as a vehicle, - for feminism, for bodilyness & masculine power

for birth & worthiness & communing & pleasure & fun. I have never learned so

much from one woman in my life but I don’t think so. I follow her now burning low &


O World come & see me when I’m young


What did she mean. Inside her own time, avatar, globular multi-dimensional, newer,

full of shit, her epistemic sexiness, her poet knowing, gloaming,


always spurt her ur Anne

I care not I got it wrong

she will forgive me. Anne is wise

I genuflect to her iridescent timelessness &

ardor    our poet king, at her 70th

year, without fear,

great poet lover & ruler

the radiance, our friend, Anne