Give an analysis of Fast Speaking Woman’s Poem…………..
The poem “Fast Speaking Woman” by Anne Waldman is a classic example of poetry’s influence to the social life of women. The poem can also be considered as a woman’s influence in society. Whichever way a person decides to look at the poem, Anne Waldman succeeded in portraying the societal importance of the female gender. Anne Waldman when writing the poem explained that she wrote it to encompass all the type of women in the society (Waldman, 35). The poem focuses as -Anne Waldman notes- femaleness (her own) which she believed was shared by all other women (Waldman, 36). It is an assertion of what all women want to be. That is they want to assert their sense of mind, their imagination –and in Waldman’s case her imagination to travel as an artist (Waldman, 36) – and also view themselves as makers and inventors who are capable of seeing beyond boundaries (Waldman, 36). To capture all this thought in a dramatic yet unforgettable way, Anne Waldman set the poem “Fast Speaking Woman” to take the form of a chant (Waldman, 36). The poem is basically about female emancipation.
Female emancipation has been a subject prone to constant discussions in the last century and the present century too. Male domination of society has been considered ambiguous by the female gender which has always lamented that the male gender is always considered supreme. The female gender has strived to show their importance in society, it has tried to show that they too can be as useful as the male gender. The purpose of this paper therefore is to bring to light the importance of the female gender as illustrated in the poem “Fast Speaking Women” by Anne Waldman. The stylistic device that is prevalent in the poem –Anaphora- has been used to further the female emancipation aspect. Therefore, the paper will also try to see how the Poet used it to achieve her goal in the poem.
Anne Waldman, as stated above tried to bring out the idea of female emancipation in the current age. Her poem contains women’s voices which communicate the altering appearance of beat artistic quality as well as what is referred to as second wave feminist ideas. The ideas that encompass this ‘wave’ include open-mindedness, equality and freedom. The poem was written at a time when there was arise in capitalism and men were considered powerful economically. The women however, suffered the opposite during this time; they experienced neglect in their political rights as well as suffering economically (Gilly, 2005). Contrast this to the poem and we have clear evidence of such neglect. The first few lines in the poem show the amount of neglect placed on the woman. The lines “because I don’t have spit/ because I don’t have rubbish/because I don’t have dust/because I don’t have that which is air/ because I am air” describes how the persona regards herself as a woman to be worthless because she does not have anything to work with. She sees herself relegated to the confines of society. However, this degradation does not seem to limit the thoughts of the persona. The use of the “I am” phrases, for instance, “I am speech woman” shows a dream in the persona of becoming renowned, maybe as a public speaker, or as someone who stands and defends what she believes in. The persona also tries encouraging other women to try elevating themselves from their current predicament. The last line in the first stanza “Let me try you with my magic power” has been used as an encouragement to women to try using what they have to emancipate themselves.
Anaphora is a rhetoric term for repetition. It is used to build towards a climax and also in creation of strong emotional effects in a poem. This rhetoric device has been widely used by Anne Wildman to bring out the emotion in the poem just as it is supposed to. Anne Wildman has in fact pushed the stylistic device boldly throughout in the poem (Cook, 74). Just like Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” the use of anaphora in the poem is emotional. The stylistic device has been used to encourage to women act as winners and not losers. Take an example of the following excerpt from the poem:
I’m a shouting woman
I’m a speech woman
I’m an atmosphere woman
I’m an airtight woman
I’m s flesh woman
I’m a flexible woman
I’m a high heeled woman
I’m a high style woman
I’m an automobile woman
I’m a mobile woman
Anaphora creates a rhythmic pattern in the poem, however, it also creates a sense of belief in the persona while professing what she is capable of doing. It builds the emotion necessary to allow the persona to influence other women achieve their full potential.
The poem Fast Speaking Woman” has been used to provide historical movement in the female emancipation campaign. It has been used to express feministic ideologies and also a view of the Beat generation. It has served to bring to light great poets like Anne Waldman who used her talent as a poet to enlighten other women. In fact she practises what she writes; she used her talent to stand out amongst other women and men too. In short, it suggests that women too can win in the male dominated world.
Gilley, Jennifer. “Writings of the Third Wave: Young Feminists in Conversation.” Contemporary Women’s Issues Database 1 Apr. 2005: 187. eLibrary Curriculum Edition. ProQuest. 9 Nov. 2008 <http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/ce>.
Waldman, Anne. “Fast Speaking Woman: Chants and Essays.” City Lights Books. 1996.
Cook Albert Spaulding. “Forces in Modern & Postmodern Poetry” Peter Lang. 2008
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