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Anne Waldman reads from Trickster Feminism

I met up with Anne Waldman on a Friday last April at her house in the West Village to record her reading from First Baby Poems, a favorite book of mine. Anne had just come from Penguin Books where she’d been preparing for the publication of her new book, Trickster Feminism. After First Baby Poems, I asked if she’d read from the upcoming book as well, and Anne did, getting out her type-written pages with revisions from the recent meeting. “Trickster Feminism. I’d come up with the title, and then I had to write a book. Because I wanted to be funnier—things were so dire.” Yes dire: the crooked 2016 election had given us Hair Trump, and in the protests that came after that, at the Women’s March, Anne began to write in the street inspired by the gathered moment. In the poem denouement at Trump Tower she chants: Om Man Be Gone, an exorcism to be performed not only by the writer, but by the reader. “Om Man Be Gone. Con Con Be Gone.” Till the bullshit crumbles, that is the chant. Say it, resist, but with a laugh and the camaraderie of those around, and even of those who’ve come before.

Here it is July and I’m holding Trickster Feminism in my hands. It’s dedicated, I see, to three women, all recently dead, Pauline Oliveras, Joanne Kyger, and Geri Allen, a composer, poet and musician, with this inscription:

pushing against the darkness many decades
with silence, poetry, sound, wit,
radical exploratory consciousness

We are all in this together with help from the past in the present where we are. The bright cover by Laurie Anderson, turquoise and vermilion, holds the image of a feisty dakini rabbit that Anne once brought back from India, feminine muse and spirit guide, ready for any trick like the indomitable Anne Waldman herself, whose tour de force of words no idiot president will ever out talk or talk down.

Ladies and gentlemen, Anne Waldman.

Trickster Feminism is published by Penguin Poets. You can check them out here:


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