Trickster Feminism

2018 • 160 pages • ISBN: 9780143132363 • $20 • Poetry
Penguin Poets

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An edgy, visionary collection that meditates on gender, existence, passion and activism. Mythopoetics, shape shifting, quantum entanglement, Anthropocene blues, litany and chance operation play inside the field of these intertwined poems, which coalesced out of months of protests with some texts penned in the streets. Anne Waldman looks to the imagination of mercurial possibility, to the spirits of the doorway and of crossroads, and to language that jolts the status quo of how one troubles gender and outwits patriarchy. She summons Tarot’s Force Arcana, the passion of the suffragettes, and various messengers and heroines of historical, hermetic, and heretical stance, creating an intersectionality of lived experience: class, sexuality, race, politics all enter the din. These are experiments of survival.

“Reading Waldman is like being in the world today, neither inured to the news nor lacerated by our own empathy….It’s easy to feel drawn to this poet’s idealism and generosity of spirit; hard, as well, not to be grateful for moments when she indulges in a little self-puncturing. Hints of the trickster, indeed, that most intelligent subversive.” New York Times, Daisy Fried

Trickster Feminism reclaims the deeply overburdened word ‘tricky’ for feminine people; no longer does the word serve primarily as a way for men to imply devious, lecherous behavior in women. No, Merriam-Webster clearly defines tricky as ‘requiring skill, knack, or caution.’ That’s trickster feminism.” —Boulder Weekly

“Anne Waldman’s very apropos and very prescient / omni-present and very true latest, Trickster Feminism, lays philo-sophic poetry at the feet of sleep as well the very wakeful performance aspect of our current oligarchical moment. What’s reeling and alive is the freshness of topicality, personal and public, in this collection….” —The Brooklyn Rail

“In Trickster Feminism, Anne Waldman continues her lifelong project of speaking to power through poetry. Waldman has written through the post-2016 protests, marches and resistance, amid losses to the poetry world — including several of her friends — to uncover paths of possibility under all of the awfulness. Indeed, she opens the book, which she’s dedicated to Pauline Oliveros, Joanne Kyger and Gerri Allen, with a phoenix-like directive: ‘when you are sitting/ with the corpse of your friend/ this is what to do/ when what do you do.’ Trickster Feminism is a demonstration of how to go on, when one can’t go on.” Hyperallergic, Marcella Durand

“For more than 40 years cultural activist and award-winning poet Anne Waldman has challenged readers with her rigorous, eclectic writing and her insistence on overthrowing accepted notions about male patriarchy and female limitations. Her new collection, “Trickster Feminism” (Penguin) continues on this mission. In these pages, she calls upon multiple resources — spirits, suffragettes and heroines alike — to help defeat the trickster who disempowers women through capitalism and other tools….” —Washington Post

Urgency—I feel urgent about everything, right now. All the safety nets down.” —Anne Waldman for Harper’s Magazine Oral History

“Anne Waldman’s newest poetry collection reads like a spellbook — a mix of prose, verse, illustration and photography, woven together like the instructions to a ritual.” —PBS News Hour

“Acclaimed poet Waldman plumbs the variations and nuances of female subjectivity and paths to liberation through the performance of words and rituals.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“In place of advancement, Waldman advocates periphrasis—’walking backwards, walking sideways and flying in air too’—as if hoping that, in all this ambiguity, feminists will find a new way to travel into the future.” —The Poetry Foundation

“Waldman’s new book, Trickster Feminism, unites feminist history, Buddhist lore, contemporary politics, quantum physics, and more in a text of protest and upheaval. Her poems are layered, enchanting, and challenging, but if you’re willing to go along for the ride, their movements will unsettle your thinking on gender, feminism, and the political powers at large in the United States today.” —Tricycle

“For Waldman, the trickster is among us, sometimes within us. ‘Resistance. Had to resist. Ward off. Deflect. Exorcise. Defy. Apotropaic experiments to shift tone & anger.’ This book is a call: ‘Take back founding myth of Americas: evil of the Feminine.’ ‘This is a whisper,’ Waldman writes, ‘enough of whisper to / rise up rise up and wiser, streets of the world.'” The Millions, must-read poetry

Trickster Feminism looks at contemporary understandings of gender, feminism, and activism, as well as how poetry is capable of responding to all three.” —E. Ce Miller for Bustle

Trickster Feminism arrives in the nick of time as a lightning strike of wisdom that illuminates this moment in history. Anne Waldman’s voice is epic, mythic and above all, wild. She gives us direct courage from the force of her great heart. Her words: sacred text.” —Terry Tempest Williams

“Wit, real teaching and speed all meet up here. Words fall out as the pace quickens, it’s like a clown car bumping into itself, then suddenly the poet takes charge, and backs us right into a confetti of deceptively wacky oracular pronouncements. This is such a read. Trickster Feminism is an awesomely serious book, Anne Waldman’s poetry being nothing but the eye and sound of prophecy itself.” —Eileen Myles

Trickster Feminism spins wily counter-logics and connection in lyrics and chants supple enough to face pervasive death–of friends, the body count in our century’s nameless global war, and even the planet’s epochal decease. Waldman’s poems enact insubordination, a kind of pinwheel parataxis, to offer a necessary second sight. We are summoned to peer past appearances, past the sense of square one beginnings and ineluctable dead ends. Instead, we are invited to raise our gaze afresh and to rise to our feet.” —Erica Hunt

“Anne Waldman’s passionate, quick-witted poetry doesn’t back down or away from anything, outer or inner, big or small, and confronts an exceptionally wide range of experience and feeling.  Playful, ingenious, edgy, vital in its feminism and in its humanity, Trickster Feminism is a gathering (to paraphrase Frank O’Hara) of political meditations in a time of emergency.  One comes away from her poetry stimulated and—rarest of all these days—hopeful.” —Charles North

“Caught in the uncanny glint of the trickster gaze, this book contains a masterful, instructive set of texts. Easily a classic on par with Diane Di Prima’s Revolutionary Letters. There is a torn and highly addictive edge to its line, a restless counterpoint that feels in rhythm with our current struggle.” —Cedar Sigo

“An essential poet of our time, Anne Waldman hears the centuries rousted from their sleep in Trickster Feminism.  She sees how the cosmic plight can be turned around in the concealed fragility of late capitalism, and she never fears standing inside the entanglements.” —CAConrad