This was a return for me. For many decades, I'd had family in Boulder. In fact, there is some park land there that was bequeathed to Boulder by family members in lieu of real estate taxes in their retirement years. And I'd lived there briefly in the 90s when Anna was teaching at the University of Colorado. Our last return had been when we came back from Los Angeles to record an interview with Stan Brakhage. While we were in town, I gave a talk at Naropa, thanks to Anne Waldman, on Amiri Baraka. This, too, marked another of our reunions with Lorenzo Thomas, who was first to pose a question after my talk, and it was a poser.
Now I was back, my first stop after returning from China. This time Waldman had asked me to speak about Lorenzo, who had been a great friend of the Summer Writing Program at Naropa. Anne had published Lorenzo's earliest collections, and as has been so often the case, was a great promoter of her fellow poets.
Because of my China travel, I couldn't go to Boulder till the last week of the 2017 program, but that meant that I was there with many long-time artist friends. The faculty in the third week included Julie Ezelle Patton, giovanni singleton, Bruce Andrews, Ronaldo Wilson, Janice Lowe, Khadijah Queen, Layli Long Soldier, all hosted by the incomparable Anne Waldman, who miraculously pulls all this together when she could be concentrating on her own work.
There seemed to be a potato chip sub theme in 2017. At the first event I attended, Julie Patton was "playing" potato chips into the mic as part of her improvisation accompanying Anne. Later, Anne was fortifying herself with chips as we chatted in the lobby. Everywhere I looked, there were chips in evidence. Seemed everybody had the munchies. Altitude, you think?
I was only on the ground two days, but between the faculty and students there was enough poetry to power a generation.
And this may be the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, but Anne Waldman is the very embodiment of the place.