Anne Waldman Autobiography:
Fast Speaking Woman
Fast Speaking Woman, long chant poem—inspired in part by the texts and recording of the shaman Maria Sabina, who intones chants, and speaks through an all-night hallucinogenic mushroom rite of passage and begun during a trip to South Amenca—was a particularly seminal piece for me. Allen Ginsberg after hearing me read had suggested I "write long." Kenneth Koch had praised my "vibrato like an opera singer's." I was already extending my performance pieces into longer time frames. The poem was every woman's song in a sense and hung on the very simple structure "I'm a this woman, I'm a that woman, allowing, too, for improvisation. Upon hearing me read the poem on stage in San Francisco, Lawrence Ferlinghetti rushed backstage afterwards to ask to see it, saying he wanted to publish the poem in a City Lights Pocket Poets edition. Childhood fantasy come true! I'd been enamored of those compact and handsome editions for years. This was the maverick publisher of Ginsberg, Mayakovsky, Gregory Corso, Diane DiPrima. Ten poems appeared in the edition, which sported a glamorous photo that had been taken during "The Palm Casino Revue," an off-off Broadway show which featured transvestite Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling, others, and the exceptional musical poet and librettist Kenward Elmslie, a close friend. There was the sense of it being a "live" or "oral" book. A kind of performance. In retrospect, its publication in 1975 put my work and the performance of it into a wider cultural context.
Anne Waldman. "Anne Waldman: 1945-," in Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series. Gale Research Series, Volume 17, 1993: 280-282.