Di Prima, Diane

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1934-08-06
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Diane Di Prima was born on 6 August 1934 in Brooklyn, N.Y. She attended Swarthmore College, but dropped out in 1953 to move to Manhattan and become a writer. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, she joined the emerging Beat movement. She was the editor of the newsletter The Floating Bear with LeRoi Jones, 1961-1969. In 1966, she moved to Millbrook, N.Y., to live in Timothy Leary's community. She moved to San Francisco, Calif., in 1968. In California, she taught at such institutions as the New College of California and the California College of Arts and Crafts. She also taught at Naropa University, specifically in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her works include her fictionalized memoir Memoirs of a Beatnik (1968), the long poem Loba (1998), and the book Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years (2001), as well as many other short and long pieces, chiefly poems.

From the guide to the Diane Di Prima Papers, 1955-2007, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers.)

Diane Di Prima was born on 6 August 1934 in Brooklyn, N.Y. She attended Swarthmore College, but dropped out in 1953 to move to Manhattan and become a writer. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, she joined the emerging Beat movement. She was the editor of the newsletter "The Floating Bear" with LeRoi Jones, 1961-1969. In 1966, she moved to Millbrook, N.Y., to live in Timothy Leary's community. She moved to San Francisco, Calif., in 1968. In California, she taught at such institutions as the New College of California and the California College of Arts and Crafts. She also taught at Naropa University, specifically in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her works include her fictionalized memoir "Memoirs of a Beatnik" (1968), the long poem "Loba" (1998), and the book "Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years" (2001), as well as many short and long pieces, chiefly poems.

From the description of Diane Di Prima papers, 1955-2007. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 26661029

Diane Di Prima was born in N.Y. in 1934, and attended Swarthmore College in the 1950s before moving to San Francisco where she established herself as a spokesperson for a new generation of American poets influenced by Zen Buddhism. Di Prima's first book of poems appeared in 1959, followed by over 20 books of prose/poetry, documenting American counter-culture from the Beats to the Hippies, and finally to the precepts of Zen Buddhism.

From the description of Papers, 1968-1978. (Temple University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 122365290

Di Prima is a noted feminist writer, poet, and teacher. She was associated with the "Beat Generation" and poets such as Imanu Amani Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac. She has taught at the New College of California and the San Francisco Institute of the Magical and Healing Arts. Four of her plays have been produced off-Broadway.

From the description of Diane di Prima : papers, 1934-1992. (University of Louisville). WorldCat record id: 35823587

Poet and editor.

From the description of Papers 1956-1972. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 702663870

Poet, author, co-editor with LeRoi Jones (also known as Imamu Amiri Baraka) of Floating Bear magazine, and teacher at Naropa Institute and New College of California, of San Francisco, Calif.; affiliated with the beat generation; b. 1934.

From the description of Diane Di Prima papers, 1934-1990. (University of Connecticut). WorldCat record id: 28417597

Diane Di Prima is an American poet.

From the description of Diane Di Prima collection. [1959]. (University of Victoria Libraries). WorldCat record id: 667848443

American poet and editor.

From the description of Afterword (for the last bear) : annotated typescript, [1969] / Diane di Prima. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 18433579

Diane Di Prima, born August 6, 1934, in New York, N.Y., is an American poet whose work has been identified with the Beat Generation.

From the description of Diane Di Prima letters and poetry collection, 1957-1971. (University of Delaware Library). WorldCat record id: 667225415

Diane Di Prima, born August 6, 1934, in New York, N.Y., is an American poet whose work has been identified with the Beat Generation. Her education included attendance at Swarthmore College from 1951 to 1953.

In addition to writing poetry, Di Prima's career has included the following editorial positions: co-editor with Le Roi Jones (Imamu Amiri Baraka) of Floating Bear (1961–1963) and later sole editor from 1963–1969; contributing editor to Kulchur (1960–1961); associate editor of Signal Magazine (1963–1965); publisher and editor of The Poets Press, New York (1964–1969); and editor and publisher of Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, California (1972–1976). She has also been associated with the Wingbow Press, Berkeley, California and an instructor at the Naropa Institute (1974– ) and the New College of California (1979– ). Di Prima was also a co-founder of the American Theatre for Poets.

Diane Di Prima has written books of poetry, plays, and fiction, as well as contributing to the writings of others.

Charters, Ann (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 16. The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America. Part I: A-L. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1983. pp. 149-160. Greiner, Donald J. (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 5. American Poets Since World War II. Part I: A-K. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1980. pp. 202-205. Lepper, Gary M. A Bibliographical Introduction to Seventy-five Modern American Authors. Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976. pp. 149-155. Metzger, Linda (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 13. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1984. pp. 150-151.

From the guide to the Diane Di Prima letters and poetry collection, 1957–1971, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Diane Di Prima is best known for her work as a Beat poet and writer, but she is also distinguished as a feminist and civil rights supporter. Born on August 6, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, Di Prima is the only daughter and eldest child of Francis and Emma Di Prima . Di Prima's maternal grandfather, Domenico Mallozi, was an active anarchist and friend of Carlo Tresca, the famed Italian anarchist and advocate of workers rights. Mallozi's influence on his granddaughter is evident in her life and her work. In 1962, Di Prima married her first husband, writer Alan Marlowe, whom she divorced in 1969. In 1972 she married Grant Fisher whom she divorced in 1975. Di Prima is the mother of five children: Jeanne, Dominique, Alexander, Tara, and Rudra.

Because her parents were college educated, Di Prima was afforded educational opportunities that many middle-class Americans, male or female, did not during this era. It was at the prestigious Hunter College High School in New York City that she began writing. Following high school, she attended Swarthmore College for two years until 1953 when she left to immerse herself in the Bohemian lifestyle of lower Manhattan's Greenwich Village. The confluence of artistic energies in Greenwich Village provided Di Prima a setting to inspire her writing to which by now she had devoted her full attention. She is an associate of Audre Lord, Ezra Pound, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Le Roi Jones, and Timothy Leary .

Beat writers and artists, dissatisfied with the status-quo during the 1950s, distrusted authority figures and challenged cultural norms throughout their lives in an effort to promote personal freedom. The Beats experimented with new ways of thinking, medicated states, and lifestyles to enhance their understanding of the world. Di Prima by her own account experimented with drugs. She participated in former Harvard professor Timothy Leary 's Millbrook, New York LSD experimentation in 1966.

Many Beat luminaries encountered difficulties with the law and the government. Diane Di Prima was no exception. She personally faced charges of obscenity on multiple occasions by the United States government concerning her work through the New York Poets Theatre and the newspaper The Floating Bear . Di Prima was initially co-editor of The Floating Bear from 1961-1963 with Le Roi Jones . From 1963-1969, she was the sole editor of the influential underground newspaper in Greenwich Village. In 1961, Di Prima was arrested by the FBI for alleged obscenity of two poems published in The Floating Bear . The case was thrown out by a grand jury. The New York Poets Theatre, an art theatre she co-founded with choreographer James Warring, operated for four seasons from 1961-1965. In 1963, The Poets Theatre was implicated in an obscenity case involving Jean Genet 's movie, Chant d'Armou. She and Warring fought the government's charges. Again, Di Prima won her obscenity case against the United States. By her own accounts, she was consistently harassed by the law enforcement concerning the content of her work.

Di Prima, along with husband Alan Marlowe, founded the Poets Press in New York City (1964-1969). They designed, printed, and published books by various contemporaries. Poets Press published the first books by Audre Lord, Di Prima's high school classmate, David Henderson, Clive Matson, and Herbert Huncke . By the end of the 1960s, Di Prima moved to the west coast to continue her writing. She became involved in a commune known as the "Diggers" who provided free-food to anyone in need. She also became a follower of Zen priest Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in San Francisco. This fostered her spirituality and her studies in eastern religion.

In 1958, Di Prima published her first book of poetry, This Kind of Bird Flies Backwards . She is perhaps most well-known for her later works. Memoirs of a Beatnik, published in 1969, described her experiences as part of the Beat culture in 1950s New York. Revolutionary Letters, a series of poems in the form of letters published in 1971 concern Di Prima's thoughts on her counter-culture beliefs. Loba, published in 1973 is a mythological poem concerning a strong female protagonist with feminist, pagan, and natural world themes. This is widely considered to be her best work.

From 1971 to 1975, Di Prima traveled extensively for the Poetry-in-the-Schools program sponsored by the National Endowment on the Arts . She taught students ranging from elementary to college level. Since then, Di Prima has taught poetry primarily at the New College of California as well as the Naropa Institute for writing in Boulder, Colorado . She was one of the founders of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa in 1974. In 1980, Di Prima was a co-founder and core faculty member of the Masters in Poetics Program at New College of California . Writing, as she states, is her life and she has been teaching writing techniques since the 1960s. The techniques that she teaches are similarly unique like much of her life. Di Prima encourages experimentation amongst her students in expanding their minds. This is in an effort to relate more closely to the earth, to the past, and to themselves.

From the guide to the Diane Di Prima Papers., undated, 1934-1990., (Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center .)

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Subjects:

  • Authors, American
  • Poetry--Editing
  • Women--Diaries
  • San Francisco (Calif.)--Cultural affairs--Literature
  • Hippies
  • Millbrook (N.Y.)
  • Playwriting--20th century
  • Universities and colleges--California
  • American drama--20th century
  • Women poets, American
  • American poetry--Periodicals
  • San Francisco (Calif.)--Education--Universities and colleges
  • California--Cultural affairs--Literature
  • Naropa Institute
  • Bohemianism
  • Poems
  • Zen Buddhists
  • Women authors, American
  • Universities and colleges
  • American literatyre--20th century
  • American poetry--20th century
  • California--Education--Universities and coleges
  • Communal living
  • Beat generation
  • American poetry--Women authors
  • New College of California--Faculty--Personal and professional papers
  • Poetry--Authorship--20th century
  • American literature--20th century
  • New York (N.Y.)--Newspapers, periodicals, and journalism
  • Poets, American
  • Diaries
  • New York (State)--Collective settlements
  • Floating bear (New York, N.Y.: Periodical)
  • Communal living--New York (State)
  • New York (N.Y.)--Cultural affairs--Literature
  • Bohemianism--United States

Occupations:

  • College teachers--California
  • Women college teachers--California
  • Women poets, American
  • Poets, American
  • Authors, American
  • Periodical editors--New York (State)--New York
  • Women authors, American
  • Poets

Places:

  • San Francisco (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California--Berkeley (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Berkeley (Ca.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Millbrook (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)