Ted Berrigan was one of the first poets to make me sit up & think now this is poetry. I'd read an article by Miles Champion in Parataxis & that had sent me off in search of what was available - which, back in the UK in the early 90s, was very little. I got the American Penguin Selected & ordered with such excitement via the still nascent internet (Netscape Navigator, version ?) on a dodgy modem connection the big red Collected. I got it delivered to friends in Washington & there it was waiting for me on Hallowe'en night. 1997? Yes, I think so.
Strange, then, yet kind of appropriate - in the way things seem to orbit in the Poetic Uni-Verse - that I should find myself chatting to Anne Waldman this sunny late October morning after the second keynote speech at the ULB Beat Conference. To shake the hand that ... & what do you say other than thank you, trying to sum up a whole world of books & conversations & ways your days have been touched & transformed by words. She was modest & charming, of course, & seemed to understand what was being implied albeit awkwardly.
"The Muse plugs you in. It's that direct. Electricity. It's always available, batteries are not needed, but you have magic keys access to the illusory batteries which are needed and available, when you are genuinely ready and alert. Who's to say how or when or why this occurs. It's the reciprocity with "bigger mind". And it can involve other people. I get that hit - don't you too? - in the poetry one loves." (From the interview 'Vow to Poetry' in the volume of the same name, Anne Waldman)