Mødet med Anne Waldman

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ANNE WALDMAN
eller: THE FAST SPEAKING WOMAN PÅ LOUISIANA LITERATURE

Da Liselotte og jeg var på bryllups-roadtrip gennem USA i juli 1998 (vi blev gift i Vancouver, Canada), lagde vi vejen forbi Boulder, Colorado, hvor digteren Anne Waldman havde været så venlig at invitere os til at deltage i det årlige Summer Writing Program på Naropa Institute. Det var Anne Waldman, som i 1976 – sammen med Allen Ginsberg – havde etableret universitetets litterære afdeling, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, og nu, hvor Ginsberg var død, kørte hun afdelingen videre på egen hånd, og ånden fra beatforfatterne svævede fortsat over vandene. På den sommers program var navne som Ed Sanders, Joanne Kyger og guitaristen Steven Taylor (Ginsbergs faste akkompagnatør). Der var også en oplæsnings-seance med Waldman selv, og hun viste sig at være akkurat lige så dynamisk og rapkæftet, som man kan få indtryk af i hendes stadig nok mest kendte bog, “Fast Speaking Woman & Other Chants”, der udkom på forlaget City Lights i 1975. Som performer har Waldman – der også var med på Bob Dylans Rolling Thunder Revue – helt klart lært noget af sine ældre mentorer fra beatgenerationen, men samtidig har hun skabt sin egen distinkte figur som digter.

Året forinden, i oktober 1997, havde Steen Møller Rasmussen og jeg mødt Anne Waldman i Lowell, Massachusetts, hvor vi optog et interview med hende til vores lille film “Lowell Celebrates Kerouac”. Da jeg dengang bad Waldman om at fortælle historien om The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, sagde hun:

“In 1974 Allen Ginsberg and I, along with the poet Diane di Prima, were invited out to Boulder, Colorado, to a very experimental summer programme with something that was later to become The Naropa Institute, and that was founded by a Tibetan buddhist, a lama/teacher named Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. And we were there that summer also with John Cage, Gregory Bateson, and other Zen-teachers. We thought we were only going for that summer, but then Allen and I were invited to design a poetics’ programme that would be part of the school. So we had a meeting with some of these friends, one of them being Cage. Cage had been involved with something called Black Mountain College in North Carolina, the poet Charles Olson was the director of that for awhile, so there was an interesting history with people like Merce Cunningham, Franz Kline, the poets Ed Dorn and John Wieners, and many others. So we decided to start our own poetics school within the umbrella of this larger buddhist-inspired institute. Allen and I were roommates that summer, and we went back to our room and started making lists of all the people we would invite, and what the name of the school should be. I kept saying, ‘What about Gertrude Stein?’ … that ‘Gertrude Stein School’ would be funny in Colorado. But then ‘Kerouac’ made more sense, obviously. He was a writer that my generation felt extremely connected to and liberated by, and for Allen he was his heart-brother. And so we threw in the ‘Disembodied’ as a kind of little tantric tease and began the school which later became a fully accredited Masters’ programme in creative writing and study. And now we have an Allen Ginsberg Library, we have many tapes and cassettes of over twenty years of activity. And I’m now a Distinguished Professor, and I basically teach. I’m trying no to administrate, and I’m editing some books about the school and the lectures and so on. Several of those anthologies have come out.”

I dag og de følgende dage kan Anne Waldman opleves på årets udgave af Lousiana Literature.

(foto: lm / Boulder, Colorado, juli 1998)

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