Waldman is the latest in a series of writers who have visited campus this year to speak to American literature students and the public.
Smith said he met Waldman in 1991 when he studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics housed at the Naropa University in Boulder, Colo. Waldman is artistic director of its celebrated summer writing program.
“Her living legacy and literary lineage connects readers and writers of the 21st century with the 20th century legend known as the Beat Generation, most recently memorialized on celluloid with James Franco’s extraordinary performance as Allen Ginsberg in the poem-as-movie-and-animation ‘Howl’,” Smith said. “Her works blend the spiritual and social, the activist and artistic, the epic and the eclectic in the same prolific spirit as her predecessors who passed with the past century.”
Waldman has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community for more than 40 years as writer. In 1974 she co-founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg.
She is the author of more than 40 books of poetry including “Kill or Cure,” “Marriage: A Sentence,” “Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble,” and the poetic text “Outrider.” “Manatee/Humanity” (Penguin Poets 2009) is Waldman’s most recent book.
Waldman has worked actively for social change, and has been involved with the Rocky Flats Truth Force. She was arrested in the 1970s with Daniel Ellsberg and Allen Ginsberg protesting the site of Rocky Flats, a now-closed U.S. nuclear weapons production facility.
The reading at Backdoor Playhouse is a Center Stage event that is free and open to the public. Center Stage program events use General Education funding to bring programs to campus that enhance student understanding of the arts. Waldman’s visit to campus also is made possible via funding from the Quality Enhancement Plan, a five-year university initiative to improve the quality of student learning.
At the end of the semester, Smith and the students will co-publish a book of original work alongside analysis and reflection about their experiences in the course.