The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2015

All Issues
FEB 2015 Issue

for Jane Freilicher (1924 – 2014)

Jane Freilicher in her New York City apartment, 1984 © Kathleen Eckles. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.


To you, muse who
rocked the brains of
so many of my heroes
You a hero too
for wise quip bon mot and
panoramic eye
And stand up all around beauty
enters the room
our own Barbara Stanwyck
glamorous, slender, assured,
Always gracious if not a bit impatient
Why aren’t these people wittier?
Perky word monger wonder
Figure of a liberated tongue
Not miss a beat
Voice distinct in the ear
It was your classy parties,
with drink and din
Kinetics of best talk in town
Morris, Barbara, John,
Alex, Joe le Sueur, Kynaston
Rudy, Red, Ada, Ned,
Larry, Harry, Mimi, Maxine
Kenneth’s smile,
hubby Joe’s hospitality
But always a bit of intimidation
‘round you
with your aura,
Those staggeringly great poems
writ in your honor
bunkering the head
You turn crazy Jane of poetic trope into
upscale glowing modish madcap Jane
Legendary gossip’s elegance
mounting around you, star,
La Freilicher
formidable and by contrast
although you were never loud
the quietest paintings
as if  noise forever absent
or transmuted into
compressed tension
And arrangement-transfer
was perfectly natural
John Ashbery calls “tentative”?
Could we dare say “egoless”
in this tribute?
Spaces between objects
come onto this window ledge
this table, center of the world,
a hearth to mute a button on the roar
Hush here before your
stroke and palette
Can’t thank you enough
ingenious painter
for these and continuity
But back back come back again
Can’t get enough of the parties
of yesteryear
Terrific 5th Ave apartment’s readiness,
gleam, of us shining too
Happy to be in your realm
a moment and
Jimmy showing up in what
Kenward called
his Lub period
with bikerchains around his neck
and Joe Brainard lanky
innocently louche
and people still smoked
I remember being haunted indelibly:
how get so lucky to be here?
High tone and that inimitable
talk again
will never be the same
in purgatorial New York
Caught on time spiral, Jane
helping many of us late arrivistes enter
the Academy of the New York School future
which opened its doors to us

—Anne Waldman


Anne Waldman

ANNE WALDMAN is a poet, performer, professor, editor and cultural activist. She is the author of over forty books of poetry, including the book-length hybrid narrative poem Manatee/Humanity (Penguin Poets, 2009) and the feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House, 2011), which is the winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. Other recent books include the forthcoming Voice's Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born (Coffee House Press, 2016), Jaguar Harmonics (Post-Apollo Press, 2014), Gossamurmur, (Penguin Poets, 2013), and Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House, 2014), co-edited with Laura Wright. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013 - 2014), and is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She recently received a long-life achievement award by the Before Columbus Foundation (2015). She has collaborated with numerous visual artists, including Elizabeth Murray, George Schneeman, Richard Tuttle, Donna Dennis, Pamela Lawton, Pat Steir, and filmmaker Ed Bowes. Waldman has also worked on recent projects with Meredith Monk, Douglas Dunn, musicians Thurston Moore and Ha-Yang Kim. She founded the poetry and music recording label and music consort: Fast Speaking Music with musicians Ambrose Bye and Devin Brahja Waldman, with whom she also collaborates. Recent CDs include Comes Through in the Call Hold, and Jaguar Harmonics. Publishers Weekly has deemed Waldman a counter cultural giant. She is a founder of Naropa University's MFA and the Artistic Director of its Jack Kerouach School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2015

All Issues