Acclaimed for her visionary, incantatory verse and her experimental ethos, Anne Waldman’s newest book-length poem is an allegory of a radical spirit in lockdown, dominated by "Deciders" and "Imposters" who threaten the future of poetry and its archive. A doppelganger nightmare ensues: the imposter "Anne" is a succubus, and the original Anne has to break free from a metaphorical castle of torture and psychological domination. There are travels through Vedic cosmology and ancient Japan before resolution on a treeless tundra, where fragile life forms struggle to survive. Waldman’s oracular poem is a witty meditation on identity theft and a searing plea for the primacy of imagination and for collective sanity in our provocative yet precarious time.
Praise for Gossamurmur
“In Gossamurmur we see a master poet in the throes of the performance of a lifetime. Waldman rolls out technology, fantasy, wit, nature, passion and luscious fields of rapturous information for our temporary perusal and then with her magic stylus she flicks it away. Her poet is paranoid, funny, friendly, and lusty and all her wide passages of poethood, personhood, and history are cinched by a streaming network of lines that refresh, quake and accrue. The trembling suppleness of this poem creates a living miniature of the mythic ‘archive of poetry’ which for Waldman is the holy grail — the deep subject of this wildly successful poem which she defends like a fire-breathing dragon by becoming it.” —Eileen Myles
“Waldman continues Artaud’s deep work as a curandera would — to bring us peace with the precision of her turmoil and the focusing of her mutilayered perception. Don’t look in Gossamurmur for lambent light flickering. This is the drama of the dragging of dark secrets out into sunlit Nature, body and psyche. It is sciamachy, the battle with the battle.” —Michael McClure
“Imagine a world without archives. Untethered, history-less, a floating samsara. In this funny and very serious reckoning, secret agent Anne takes on those who threaten our very song, in its everyday making and in our memory of it. No one knows better than Waldman the stakes here near the end of time, where we could lose all record of this precious art that ‘reanimates sentient beings.’ Waldman is one of our great cultural workers, and in Gossamurmur her mind and art sing out in our marketplace to call us toward the gossamer webbing between tundra, plant, and poetry, back to the bed of our ancient song.” —Eleni Sikelianos
“Anne Waldman’s enthralling philippic is a mix of lyric, epic, and sci-fi that pushes back against cultural amnesia. Gossamurmur gives fair warning that too many of the voices speaking in our name are out to get us. This book is a guide for living in the space between illusion and copy. Listen for the murmurs of liberation borne on Waldman’s gossamer wings of art.” —Charles Bernstein