Iovis

by Anne Waldman
(1997)
   The publication of Iovis I in 1993 and Iovis II in 1997 signaled anne waldman’s emergence as a major voice in 20th-century poetics. Often called her master work, Iovis, subtitled All Is Full of Jove, began in 1985–86 as Waldman’s exploration of male energy, both an attack on and a celebration of the power of the word as material form to shape and reshape human culture at universal and personal levels. The 600-page poem takes its name from a passage in Virgil’s Eclogues: Iovis omnia plena, which Waldman translates as “All is full of Jove.” Jove is a generative for Jupiter, the name of the god who ruled over all other gods in the Roman pantheon. Drawing most explicitly in titular form on ancient Roman and Greek epic as reservoirs of western history and values, Iovis also belongs to the contemporary long poem responding to these classical structures, specifically William Carlos Williams’s Paterson, Ezra Pound’s Cantos, charles olsen’s The maximus poems, T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, and H. D.’s Helen in Egypt. Working within, against, and beyond these tradition and antitraditions, Waldman, a long-time feminist, drew extensively on Buddhist philosophy, collected personal and family stories, and drew on many cultural myths to capture, as she has described, “the vibration, or patterned energy, of one woman on this planet as she collides with all apparent and non-apparent phenomena.”
   Iovis is a distinctly nonlinear text, both visually and narratively. Drawings, double word columns, diversified spacing between lines, varied indentations and typescripts, typewriter signs, circled passages, boxes, letters, essays, short lyrics, brainstormed thoughts, and crossed-out words characterize Iovis as a hybrid of modernist collage art, modernist and Beat multimedia productions, the folk and middle-class hobby of scrapbook making, the game-board jigsaw puzzle, and the academic commercial encyclopedia. No single voice, setting, scene, or plot dominates. Instead, Iovis manifests an aesthetic of juxtaposition, multidimensionality, and inclusiveness, all of which in combination like the scrapbook or collage or encyclopedia presents the illusion of infinite, uncensored openedness. Within Iovis, one encounters the voice of many different languages as well as the narrative perspectives and discursive conventions of the epic, meditation, manifesto, autobiography, creation myth, spells, charms, incantations, personal letters, ethnography, lyric, dream narrative, Burroughsian cut-ups, political treatises, Jungian archetypes, and many other forms to create a harmonizing cacophony (or both/other) that speaks to Waldman’s Buddhist understanding of the nondualistic source of the universe. In this mélange of the male–female that was configured through the material of paper and ink, critic Rachel Blau de Plessis identifies as the overarching plan of Iovis I and II—as well as book III that is now in progress—the “hermetic bisexual hermaphrodite or androgynous twins” in meditation.
   Iovis as an exploration of the struggle of women writers to acquire self and cultural affirmation makes Waldman’s second-wave feminist efforts significant to more recent generations through the inclusion in Iovis II of a letter written in 1994 by the young poet Kristen Prevallet. In the letter, Prevallet recounts an incident in a poetry class taught by robert creeley in which he rejected her assertion that Iovis was an epic. Prevallet’s dilemma-like that of Waldman 30 years earlier, Plath and Sexton a decade or so earlier, and H. D. and Gertrude Stein during the first half of the century-remains how to deal with the male ego that fails to recognize the personal as the universal and the political, the male ego that still manages to set the agenda for artistic standards of excellence—and thus recognition.
   These issues are addressed throughout the poem, coalescing at one point in an essay in Iovis II on women artists of the Beat Generation. Waldman, not unlike many of the women writers associated with seminal Beat figures, expresses some ambivalence toward this heritage. She legitimizes the Beat world’s long-held focus on individual independence as important to her own development as a writer, but she is not afraid to recognize their sexism, racism, and the extremely limited roles that women played in this milieu. Consequently, Iovis wholeheartedly affirms the women’s movement for helping Waldman achieve her own subjectivity, while simultaneously it gratefully practices Beat aesthetics while harshly judging their gender values. Iovis, Waldman admits, is written to “save” the self, as were many Beat texts as well as texts by countless women authors for centuries. By revising not only the male-authored epic but also other genres to tell her personal story, Waldman has crafted a body poetic in which she is “the context of those before me who worshipped a goddess whose eyes were mirrors. One eye reflected the ‘inside,’ the other the gorgeous & dark phenomenal world. Take your pick. Both, both.” As the poetic body in and through which the ritual of self and cultural history is endlessly repeated and rewritten, Iovis is a poem as process that in Waldman’s own words is meant to “soar and be told.”
 Bibliography
■ Christopher, Lee. “An Interview with Anne Waldman.” AWP Chronicle 28, no. 1 (December 1995).
■ DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. “Anne Waldman: Standing Corporeally in One’s Time.” Jacket 27 (April 2005). Available online. URL: http://jacketmagazine.com/27/w-dupl.html. Accessed September 2005.
■ Puchek, Peter. “From Revolution to Creation: Beat Desire and Body Poetics in Anne Waldman’s Poetry.” Girls Who Wore Black: Women Writing the Beat Generation, edited by Ronna C. Johnson and Nancy M. Grace. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002: 227–250.
■ Waldman, Anne. “Anne Waldman.” In Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 1993.
■ ———. Interview. “Fast Speaking Woman: Anne Waldman,” by Ronna C. Johnson. Breaking the Rule of Cool: Interviewing and Reading Beat Women Writers, edited by Nancy M. Grace and Ronna C. Johnson, 255–277. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.
■ ———. “Feminafesto.” In Kill or Cure. New York: Penguin Books, 1994, 142–146.
■ ———. Vow to Poetry: Essays, Interviews, and Manifestos. Minneapolis, Minn.: Coffee House Press, 2001.
   Nancy M. Grace

Encyclopedia of Beat Literature. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • IOVIS — Civitas, vide Diospolis …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Iovis epulum — war ein Fest zu Ehren Jupiters während der Ludi plebeii, an den Iden des November, dem 13. November. Dieses Epulum wurde von den plebejischen Ädilen ausgerichtet. Während der Kaiserzeit ist auch ein Fest während der Ludi Romani am 13. September,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • IOMDACONS — Iovis Optimi Maximi Dolicheni Aeterni Conservatoris …   Abbreviations in Latin Inscriptions

  • IOMDAETCONS — Iovis Optimi Maximi Dolicheni aeterni conservatoris …   Abbreviations in Latin Inscriptions

  • IOMDL — Iovis Optimi Maximi Dolicheni Lucius …   Abbreviations in Latin Inscriptions

  • JUPITER — Opis et Saturni fil. in Creta ins. eodem cum Iunone partu editus, et in Ida monte a Curetibus educatus, idque clam patre, qui ex pactione cum Titano fratre initâ, filios suos omnes devorabat. Cum autem in virum adolevisser, cognovislerque etiam… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • TEMPLUM Veneris — Ptol. oppid. vulgo Cap. de Crux, vide Aphrodisium; quod ab Helena 4. a Narbone 25. a Pyrene 80. leucis. Templa urbis Romae ex P. Victore: Bellonae, apud circum Flaminum. Bonae Deae, ubi nunc aedes S. Mariae Aventinae. Bonae Fortunae erat apud… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • REGIONES — non modo provinciarum, sed etiam urbium magnarum partes sunt. REGIONES URBIS ROMAE QUATUORDECIM EX PUBLIO VICTORE, SEXTO RUFO, ET ALIIS. 1. Porta Capena; inter Caeliomontanam ad ortum et Aventinum montem ad occasum ac inter Piscinam publicam et… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • ANXURUS sive potius ANXYRUS — ANXURUS, sive potius ANXYRUS nomen est, quô Iuppiter a Campanis vocabatur, qui maxime Auxuri colebatur imberbis, vel quasi ἄνευ τȏυ ξοροῦ, sine novacula, quia barbam numquam rasisiet. Servius, in illud Poetae Aen. l. 7. v. 799. Circeiumque iugum; …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • BACCHUS — I. BACCHUS Iovis ex Semele filius. Orpheus in Hymnis. Κιςςοκόμην Διόνυσον ἐρίβρομον ἄρχομ᾿ ἀείδειν. Ζηνὸς καὶ Σεμέλης ἐρικυδέος ἀγλαὸνυἷον. Idem aliô Hymnô Iovis et proserpinae filium putavit. Ε῎υβουλ᾿ ἐυπολύβουλε Διὸς καὶ Περσεφονείας. Hunc Deum …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

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