by Karin Kaminker
IIn April 1994, I had the pleasure and honor to throw an informal party for Anne Waldman at my home outside of Vienna, Austria, to celebrate her birthday. This happy event took place one evening during the 1994 spring academy of the Vienna Poetry School (Schüle für Dichtung in Wien -Sfd), at which Anne inspired her students to continue writing and performing their poetry though her workshop, “experiments and digression for performance.”
Among the guests at the birthday dinner were fellow Schüle für Dichtung guest teachers and poets Jack Collom, Anne Tardos, and Esteban Moore. Before our festive meal, Anne offered the Buddhist prayer of thanks to the animals and vegetables for their nourishment. I found that moment of thanksgiving to be so moving and important that I have continued to give thanks for such nourishment, silently or aloud, ever since.
In Vienna, we have considered Anne Waldman to be the Godmother of the poetry performance group that several of her students joined together to form after the first Academy of the SfD in 1992. Encouraged by Anne and by our other mentor, Allen Ginsberg, our association Labyrinth – The Association of English-Language Poets in Vienna continued to meet, to write together, and to perform our poetry in various literary cafés and other venues for more than 25 years.
I join with the rest of the poet community to send Anne my heartfelt gratitude, love and respect.
Karin Kaminker, who has been active as a writer, translator, and United Nations staff member, currently lives in Ferney-Voltaire, France, near the French-Swiss border. Kaminker is an active member of the Geneva Writers Group. She was the co-founder in 1993 of Labyrinth, the Association of English-Language Poets in Vienna, and the poetry magazine Subdream. Her poetry productions include The Coppersmith, performed at the 2001 Finnfest in Philadelphia and subsequently released on CD; Homeless Art, a one-act play to benefit Vienna’s homeless; and Turning Points, a medley of dance poems. She has given solo or group readings in Vienna, Geneva, Prague, the U.K., and U.S.A.