Please analyze Gossamurmur by Anne Waldman

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Anne Waldman claims that her book Gossamurmur was inspired by the urgency of saving tapes of poetic readings by Allen Ginsberg, John Cage, William Burroughs, Diane diPrima, Gary Synder and others that are at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University in Boulder. About her own poetry, she describes her goal as being much like those whose works she seeks to preserve,

To reclaim the imagination, to free our language from the stench of manipulation, . . . [to] examine how the mind moves in language that seeks to create alternative ways to live, to survive, and to sing. These are the tasks, the disciplines.

As one of the Beat Poets, Anne Waldman often writes poetry for its oral presentation. And, despite her unconventional work, Waldman is a formalist, making much use of traditional methods such as rhythmn in her poetry. Gossamurmur is a book-length poem which produces allegorical elements as Anne's spirit is in "lockdown dominated by the ...Impostors." In this creative work, she shapes  a miniature of the archives of poetry that she wishes to save. In a mixture of epic, science-fiction, and lyric verse, Walden cries out for the liberation of poetry from "Deciders" and "Impostors," those who decide what poetry will be preserved for history.  With Beowulf-like vigor, Waldman's persona defends the archives of poetry as it comes up against cultural amnesia, pleading for the importance of imagination and reasonableness. Waldman says she wants to "keep the world safe for poetry" because if poetry is safe, all else will be protected. 

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