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October 31, 2009

Anne Waldman: Ode to a Library Card.

I just saw the below poem in my Boulder Public Library calendar—it’s by our elephriend, the great poetess Anne Waldman, co-founder (with Allen Ginsberg) of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, now University.

I learned to read, myself, with many afternoons spent at the Boulder Public Library, as a child. Countless books were checked out, particularly I remember Edward Eager and many children’s books…and I remember a great matriarchal black lady who was always kind to me and my mom.

So, in keeping with my gratitude to my library, I figured many of you might be grateful to your libraries and enjoy Anne‘s poem, below. After all, the Library, in this new media and information age, plays an even more essential role in community, in literacy, and in family—particularly for those, like my mom, who aren’t well off.

An inspired education, after all, is the key to the door to the American Dream. ~ ed.

Ode To A Library Card

by Anne Waldman

Ah modest microcosm-
gateway to vast diamond worlds
vital imaginations!
An admission ticket, a permission
You are so much more satisfying
than television, and quieter
We want to unplug & sign up now!
O library card
You connect us to outer space,
ancient histories, modern too,
engrossing fiction, wild poetry
diverse languages, tantalizing cultures,
deep politics, traveling from the Jurassic along unfathomable future neural pathways
You, marvelous library card
Friend to the citizen, unlocking the universe
Endless source of panoramic knowledge
Panacea to all ignorance & ill!

—Anne Waldman

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