A New ‘Turning': Waldman’s Jaguar and Alcalay’s History

At a moment of catching her breath, Anne Waldman wrote in the first book of The Iovis Trilogy (2011) that transformation is a matter of altering molecular rhythm. Following that mammoth-type focus and “dance on the grave” of the great (male) poets of the epic long-form (Pound, Williams, Zukofsky, Olson others), Jaguar Harmonics: Person Woven of Tesserae (2014) is a more delicate and compacted filigree, arising from just such an attention to the “3-brane world” of string theory dynamics and strands that ordinarily escape our comprehension. Sure-footed in this re-weaving or re-constitution of the earth, it relies on the jaguar of its title in that beast’s own imbibing of yagé, which led indigenes to its source. Here what Waldman calls “crespuscular power-mode” is birthed from ayahuasca trance-visions in Boulder, Glouchester and Captiva. Scientific American described this April a “renaissance in studying the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic or recreational drugs”, and last year LSD received its first clinical trials in 40 years, but Waldman consults ayahuasca not for relief from depression or post-traumatic-stress-disorder, but as a conduit of spirits.. These ‘spirits’ are not so otherworldly as apparitions from matter itself, the “woven tesserae” provisional conjunctions and shadowy fragments the poet as attractor has put into motion. Stressing the impacted vibration of sound, her experiment continues to be what power inheres in the concentration and thrust of a word, what new awareness can be summoned up from the pores or marrow of the body. In our disintegrating Moebius strip of a universe (or multiverse) Waldman doesn’t parry the confusion – “as if we are Person woven into a system where higher orders/are installed we can’t even understand error or essence/who to report to”. Or pause too long on climactic destruction or any number —> Read More