Outrider by Anne Waldman ’62 Through poems, essays, and interviews, Anne Waldman defines the poetics of the outrider movement, where poets travel alongside the mainstream, just far enough out to be able to reflect on it in two senses of the word: first, this poetic stance favors thinking as a spectator and secondly, it permits the poet to hold up a mirror to those inner workings so that those riding inside have a chance to view what normally engulfs them. “Crack your world, shift your frequency.” I definitely should have read this work before reading her poem Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to be Born as the essays and interviews give valuable clues to what this poetry is about and where it fits in the history of poetry from the Beats going forward. Anne Waldman’s work has two geographic poles, the East Village (the poetry project at St. Mark’s Church) and the Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetry at Naropa University in Colorado, which she founded with Allen Ginsberg. Her work is often collaborative and encouraging to younger poets. Even after my limited brush with her work in just two books, I can see that she is daring and dramatic, willing to break new ground and to burst through formal constraints. What she sees as an outrider is a scene that requires activism; the environment, peace and injustice haunt her poetry.
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