Anne Waldman Autobiography:


"Performance" interested me in that it expanded text off the page. I think of myself as a kinetic writer, thinker: amazed at the places writing originates from. Not just a conceptual place. Is it "voices" in the head? Emanating from all sense perceptions in concert? Is it innate psychophysical-personal rhythm? My own sound? The gestures and sounds of the phenomenal world? Do I write the way I think—ungrammatically? Do I write the way I move? Found language? I'd felt, from my first reading at St. Mark's Church, where I sat, head bowed to page, that the voice coming out of me was only partial, and that I had a bigger sound to exhibit and explore. A sound that I would literally "have to grow into." But I was nervous. Next time, I stood positioned to honor the poem, to let it guide me. I saw how the text demanded a particular rendering, and it was often close to how I heard it, how words sounded in my ear. A particular kind of resonance increased after chanting mantra, I noticed as well. And since I'd had some early experience with theater, I appreciated the way voice could carry, inflect, conjure up various psychological and emotional states. How the words carried very particular and expressive energy pulses in its minutest forms—phones, phonemes. And although I couldn't pinpoint the effects of such experience of poetry, I knew I felt something "awakening" in my body, even when I was to read other poets in books. This was a kind of performance, a ritualized event in time. I wanted to be able to bring poems of my own alive. To have them sing or rage through my body, transmit them through vocal intention. And this worked best in a group context. Parformir: to enact a ritual or feat in front of an audience.

Anne Waldman. "Anne Waldman: 1945-," in Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series. Gale Research Series, Volume 17, 1993: 280.