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Anne Waldman (Anne Lesley Waldman) Biography

(1945– ), (Anne Lesley Waldman), Angel Hair, Giant Night, Baby Breakdown, No Hassles

American poet, born in Millville, New Jersey; she attended Bennington and from 1968 onwards was the director of a community arts project at St Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. Organizing readings and workshops, coediting Angel Hair magazine and books, being involved with John Giorno's experimental sound recordings, her activities there were integral to the younger generation of the New York School of Poets. Reflecting this, the poems in Giant Night (1968), Baby Breakdown (1970), and No Hassles (1972) are exuberant and playful; full of references to friends, drugs, travel, parodies (‘13 Tanka in Praise of Smoking Dope’), games with poetic forms (‘How the Sestina (Yawn) Works’), and collaborations with the likes of Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, Lewis Warsh, and visual artists Larry Fagin and George Schneeman. In 1974 Waldman joined Allen Ginsberg in founding the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Buddhist Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. The title poem of Fast Speaking Woman and Other Chants (1975), her best-known volume, is a tour de force, read with driving impetus by Waldman in public and on recordings, reiterating a woman's acts of self-definition and self-liberation. Among her subsequent collections are Journals and Dreams (1976), Make-Up on Empty Space (1984), and Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems (1989). She has also edited, with Marilyn Webb, Talking Poetics from Naropa Institute (2 volumes, 19789), lectures and interviews by visiting writers, many of them associated with the Beats or the New York School. See also language poetry.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Richard Vaughan Biography to Rosanna Warren Biography