Fast Speaking Woman, 20th Anniversary Edition

fast-speaking-womanPocket Poets Number 33
1996 • 159 pages • ISBN: 978-08728631-6-3 • $10.95 • Poetry
City Lights Publishers

Anne Waldman takes the opportunity with this twentieth-anniversary expanded edition to add twenty poems to this collection that brings into focus her lifelong engagement with “Chant” as central to contemporary performative poetry. This 20th-anniversary reprint contains all of the poems published in the author’s previous 1975 and 1978 editions plus 20 new poems and three essays on the history of the title piece and poetic tradition.

Here are spells, invocations, laments, ritual rants. Archaic beliefs in magic and ecstasy meet current notions of the power of the spoken word. Waldman writes, “”The poem is a textured energy field or modal structure. The poems for performance seem to manifest as psychological states of mind. They come together in a mental, verbal, physical, and emotional form, making their particular demands on my voice and body. I am the ‘energumen.’ The poem is the experience.”” Also included in this book are three essays on the oral tradition in poetry. One essay discusses the history and occasion of the title poem. The others treat such topics as performance art and poetic tradition, ethnopoetics, intoxication and transformation, Tibetan Buddhism, and the renewed ascendency of feminine energy in writing.