Oral History Project

Oral History Interview with Anne Waldman

The Poetry Project’s Director, Stacy Szymaszek, and Managing Director, Nicole Wallace, interviewed Anne Waldman in the apartment she grew up in, located in the West Village, on January 7, 2012. Anne Waldman, b. April 2, 1945, was The Poetry Project’s second Director (1968-1978) and before that (1966-1968) was the Assistant to Joel Sloman and the Project’s first Artistic Director, Joel Oppenheimer.

Photo: Nina Subin

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman is a poet, performer, professor, editor, literary arts curator, and cultural activist. She is the author numerous collections of poetry, including the 1000 page feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House 2011) which was the winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. Other recent books include Extinction Aria (Pied Oxen 2017), Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born (Coffee House Press 2016), Jaguar Harmonics (Post-Apollo Press 2014), Gossamurmur, (Penguin Poets 2013). She co-edited Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House 2014), an anthology of lectures from The Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She received a long-life achievement award by the Before Columbus Foundation in 2015. She has collaborated with numerous visual artists, including painter Pat Steir. Waldman has also worked on a collaboration with Meredith Monk performing at Danspace and ICA in Boston, which will also be presented Brown University in the spring of 2018. She founded Fast Speaking Music with musicians Ambrose Bye and Devin Brahja Waldman, with whom she also collaborates. Publishers Weekly has deemed Waldman “a counter cultural giant”. She co-founded the Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics celebrated Summer Writing Program with Allen Ginsberg, a program she continues to curate in the summers. She has performed in recent years at festivals in Mexico City, Paris, Brussels, Calcutta, Jaipur, Marrakesh and Tangier. Trickster Feminism is forthcoming from Penguin in 2018 Website: annewaldman.org

Stacy Szymaszek

Stacy Szymaszek is a poet, editor and arts administrator. She is the author of the books Emptied of All Ships (2005), Hyperglossia (2009), hart island (2015), and Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals (2016), which won the Ottoline Prize from Fence Books. Her book A Year From Today is forthcoming in 2017 with Nightboat Books. She’s the recipient of a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She is a regular teacher for Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and mentor for Queer Art Mentorship. Szymaszek has been the Director of the Project since 2007. Before that, she served as the Project’s Program Coordinator (now called Managing Director) from 2005-2007 and curated the Monday Night Reading Series.