Anne Waldman

These are some earlier notes on Anne Waldman’s Outrider and a few of my reasons for reading it. Continuing, I will excerpt from the second and third pieces in the book, and bold the phrases which most strike me. This reading is turning me slightly Buddhist.

The term “OUTRIDER,” says Waldman, was adopted in part to define a poetics “outside the official verse literati culture academic mainstream” and “resistant to the ‘institutionalization’ of creative writing.” (39) She speaks of her poetic community as a temporary autonomous zone and an “open system.” (40)

She speaks as well of a poetics of ‘plurality’: “There is a sense of plurality vs. dominance.” (43)

“…much of the avant-garde reads as elitist, operating within very specific language and economic codes, and where the arenas are MLA conferences, literature and creative writing ‘departments,’ Barnes and Noble bookstores and the like.” (45)

How does one cut through to the ‘real work,’ or are we so entwined with the confusions and mistakes of our so-called lineages that time must be spent in analyses, ‘processing’ and corrections? Who speaks for me?” (46)

“…an alternative mode of education that would actualize a contemplative, non-competitive atmosphere… (47)

“‘Satori,’ or the blast that comes from a flash of recognition of human and planetary frailty, was experienced in [Kerouac’s] case outside the usual ‘epiphany’ you find in subject-matter poetry.” (51)

“We wanted something vital, difficult outside the official verse culture academic mainstream.” (51)


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