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.
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. Anne Waldman, world renowned for her high-energy poetry performances, is the author of over thirty books and chapbooks of poetry. She is the co-founder and director of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.