Here are some fragments from the first section of Anne Waldman‘s Outrider (Albuquerque: La Alameda Press, 2006). I love poetic manifestos, and I have just discovered an entire web archive of them. And someone at Western Michigan has excerpted portions of Olson’s 1950 manifesto Projective Verse for the sake of contemplation. I am engaged in the same sort of activity here. If I excerpted though, on a different day, I would surely choose different lines.

[page 13]

Is poetry as profession in crisis? That’s the view of OUTRIDER. It’s a question. A view inside maker/marker/poetry inside a question.

What are thoughts? Where do they go? How do they form?

What are the portals, the ayatanas, for this poetry-head-restless-in-process-of -shaping-itself-through-language, wanting that to be enough for a whole life, yet troubled in “economy,” in “career,” in “maintenance,” in bad governance.

In obligatory rounds. In network with its participial “-ing.”

[page 14]

OUTRIDER seeks as view, this OUTRIDER motif, a way into the poet’s role in a creative world increasingly commodified. That sounds resoundingly glib. However.

[page 15]

Where did poetry start streaming in a poet? That would be a starter.

Write what you would want to read.

Utopian poetics, what you want to read.

[page 16]

Start with poem as career. Perhaps, ideally, where poetry presents, offers, little product value …It inculcates “a way into,” it is a process of becoming shapely of becoming mind/language/imagination/music shape-of – what form could that be, how might a semantics hold all this?

Historical precedence surely. OUTRIDER as a term, a concept, a battle cry (because one is a warrior in 1974) is born in 1974 at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa Institute (later University). It’s a wild mind experiment.

[page 18]

How is the call heard? First it is heard. A line somewhere? Propensity. It is available, this view, this modus, in response and as an alternative to poetry as a career. Or of at least thinking of it that way. Operating in it – the composition by rhizome field – that way, as if poetry is an excursion and a necessity.

[page 21]

What is the sexuality of the poetics of OUTRIDER?

That’s just it. Invoking the notion of “coming out,” of being outed, of being outside the norm.

Recognizing the linear body, lunar body, illuminated body, liminal body. Body poetics.

Poet’s gift: Other.

[page 23]

One who rides outside the normative strategy, who will brook no obstacle to the next kinetic moment.

[page 27]

What OUTRIDER desires is a return to urgency for the work because we are trying to wake up the awareness of the world.

Not in a safer academy, although maybe help from there would come.

[page 28]

OUTRIDER will listen and keep a record, scribed indelibly in water in sand, in a saddlebag with items of regret.

[page 29]

A popular song with no closure is familiar to OUTRIDER.

OUTRIDER: At the cusp.

[page 30]

OUTRIDER is a witness and an animal-plant-mineral citizen, and strives to make change in the realm of inclusion, inasmuch as OUTRIDER can be persuasive, and inclusion might be a goal. Inclusion in what? The discourse.

In the Open.

[page 31]

OUTRIDER is a declension of possibility. OUTRIDER claims the source to be a way of regarding the terrain, thus a View.

OUTRIDER is a statement about language and its purpose.

And the cries of animals.

Not no ideas, but no ideas but in projectiles of things.

[page 32]

OUTRIDER is a documentarian. Old archivist of imagination.

[page 35]

OUTRIDER is One that rides.

[page 36]

OUTRIDER cannot consume its own theory.

[page 38]

The page becomes a terrain, an abode, a mystical site.

I am casting about for ways to make progress on an article, which seems poor as I write it, but then looks good when I come back and see what I have written. It is on two poets, both young enough that there is little scholarly work on them. My training makes me want to set them in a tradition. I could easily discuss the relationship of their work to earlier poets they have clearly read. This would be traditional and acceptable, especially since such articles do not already exist. But my strongest sense of the matter is that it is in their relationship to contemporaries whose work, for reasons having to do with mother tongues, they may not know, that the ground is rich and the sparks not yet flown will rise.


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