Diane Di Prima
|Diane Di Prima - a well known poetess and student of
Shunryu Suzuki and Chogyam Trungpa
Click here for Shunryu Suzuki Photo Archive images and links to all cuke.com pages on .Diane di Prima on Wikipedia
See Alan Marlowe (an ex) page for more on Diane
See Jeanne DiPrima, Diane's oldest of 5.
Even Buddha is lost in this land
Bodhidharma came from the west.
Excerpt from Beneath a single moon: Buddhism in contemporary American poetry - Shambhala - 1991
Diane di Prima lived and wrote in Manhattan for many years, where she became a significant figure in the Beat movement. She later moved upstate to participate in Timothy Leary’s psychedelic community at Millbrook. For the past twenty-five years she has lived and worked in northern California, where she took part in the activities of the Diggers, lived in a late-sixties commune, studied Zen Buddhism, Sanskrit, and alchemy, and raised five children. She is currently based in San Francisco, where she is one of the cofounders and teachers of the San Francisco Institute of Magical and Healing Arts. Her current works in progress include an autobiographical memoir, Recollections of My Life as a Woman.
As it did for many other artists of my generation, Buddhism first came into my life in the mid-fifties by way of D. T. Suzuki's essays on Zen. What then appeared to us to be a Zen point of view was soon taken for granted as the natural-one might say axiomatic-mind-set of the artist. A kind of clear seeing, combined with a very light touch, and a faith in what one came up with in the work: a sense, as Robert Duncan phrased it years later, that "consciousness itself is shapely." A kind of disattachment goes with this aesthetic: "you "-that is, your conscious controlling self-didn't "make" the work, you may or may not understand it, and in a curious way you have nothing to lose: you don't have to make it into your definitive "good art." A vast relief.
In 1962 I came to the West Coast and encountered Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who had recently begun the San Francisco Zen Center. Meeting Suzuki Roshi for the first time I met some rockbottom place in myself.
I have often said that if Suzuki had been an apple picker or a welder, I would have promptly taken up either of those arts. I sat because he sat. To know his mind. It was the first time in my twenty-eight years that I had encountered another human being and felt trust. It blew my tough, sophisticated young-artist's mind.
When I returned to New York I brought a zafu back with me. Sitting alone in New York was not the same as sitting at Soko-ji, but I stuck with it and wrote to Suzuki once or twice a year through Richard Baker, who passed Roshi's comments back to me. And whenever I found myself in San Francisco on poetry business, 5:00 A.M. would find me hitch-hiking up Bush Street to zazen.
Finally, after five or six years of this, I moved to San Francisco with my four kids. One of my main motives was to be close to my teacher; the other was to do my share of the work of the "revolution." It was 1968. My days were filled with distributing free food, writing poems for guerilla theatre, hosting the Diggers and the Living Theatre, and sitting zazen. For a while four of the fourteen adults in my commune sat, and we could be seen daily pushing my blue VW bus with its broken starter up Oak Street in the predawn light.
Suzuki Roshi sat with us every morning in the old Japanese temple on Bush Street while the birds and the city slowly came awake, and after the chants he would stand at the door and bow individually to each of us, scrutinizing us keenly but gently as we left. I felt that nothing escaped him, and that the manner of our bows, the hesitation, self-consciousness, or bluff we presented as we set out, told him everything about where we were "at."
I learned much more than I know-even now-from Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in the few years that I studied with him. At the last lay ordination ceremony in 1971 I received a name from him, which I treasure to this day: Kenkai Banto means, I am told, both "Inkstone Ocean, Ten Thousand Waves," and "Inkstone Mother, Ten Thousand Children" (in that ocean and wave in this particular relation also stand for mother and child). My friend and teacher Katagiri Roshi also laughingly translated it as "Ocean (or Tempest) in an Inkstone, Ten Thousand Poems."
After my teacher's death I found the differences I had with Zen Center to be more than I knew how to deal with: my anarchism was at odds with their probably necessary organization. I continued to sit on my own, and to rely on brief visits with various teachers when I was "on the road" to further my practice. In particular, I sought out Katagiri Roshi in Minneapolis, Chogyarn Trungpa Rinpoche at Naropa Institute in Boulder, and other friends: Kwong Roshi and Kobun Chino Roshi when I could.
After eleven years on my own, during which I was also studying, working in, and teaching some of the Western spiritual practices we call Magick, I came to the end of where I could go without a teacher. It became clear that I needed a tradition of Magick that was unbroken, dharmic, and explicit, and a master and sangha I could connect with. The Tibetan tradition, growing as it does out of Bonpo, is the Buddhism that most explicitly addresses the juxtaposition of the magickal view of the world and the dharma. In 1983 I went to see Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, whom I had known since his first visit to Tassajara in 1970 and had worked with for ten years at Naropa Institute, told him of my dilemma, and was accepted as his student. At this time I am studying and practicing the Vajrayana-with, I suspect, something of my own Zen flavor.
I cannot really pin down the influence of Buddhism in my work or my life-I have written very few explicitly "Buddhist poems." What I feel is that Buddhism has permeated my way of seeing the world and of being in it. For me, the basic dharmic teachings are simply axiomatic: emptiness, interdependence. They describe the actual structure of the world. Put another way, the dharma is the warp of the world on which the colors are woven.
But more than that: whether we are aware of it or not, something of Buddhism pervades American consciousness. When Bodhidharma came from India to China with the Buddhism that was to become Ch'an and later Zen, his answer to the Chinese emperor's request for "the holy teachings" was "VASTNESS, NO HOLINESS!" This seems to me to be at the very core of who we are, what we are doing in the world at this time, as a nation and as a species, as we move out of time into space. It's a big risk and, as the dharma reminds us, there are no answers-but consciousness is shapely, and we do know more than we know.
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Diane Di Prima dot com
From the Home Page
"Diane di Prima, revolutionary
BIOGRAPHY OF DIANE DI PRIMA
Diane di Prima was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1934, a second generation American of Italian descent. Her maternal grandfather, Domenico Mallozzi, was an active anarchist, and associate of Carlo Tresca and Emma Goldman. She began writing at the age of seven, and committed herself to a life as a poet at the age of fourteen.
She lived and wrote in Manhattan for many years, where she became known as an important writer of the Beat movement. During that Lime she co-founded the New York Poets Theatre, and founded the Poets Press, which published the work of many new writers of the period. Together with Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) she edited the literary newsletter, The Floating Bear (1961-1969). In 1966 she moved to upstate New York where she participated in Timothy Leary’s psychedelic community at Millbrook.
For the past thirty-four years she has lived and worked in northern California, where she took part in the political activities of the Diggers, and wrote Revolutionary Letters. She also studied Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Sanskrit and alchemy, and raised her five children. In the 1970’s she began her epic poem Loba. of which Parts 1-8 were published in 1978. From 1980 to 1987, she taught Hermetic and esoteric traditions in poetry, in a short-lived but significant Masters-in-Poetics program at New College of California, which she established together with poets Robert Duncan and David Meltzer. She has also taught at California College of Arts and Crafts, and the San Francisco Art Institute. She was one of the co-founders of San Francisco Institute of Magical and Healing Arts (SIMHA), where she taught Western spiritual traditions from 1983 to 1992.
She is the author of 43 books of poetry and prose, including Pieces of a
Song (City Lights, 1990). Her work has been translated into at least
twenty languages. She has received grants for her poetry from the National
Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, she received an Award for Lifetime
Achievement in Poetry from the National Poetry Association. In May/June
1994 she was Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the
Arts. In 1999, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature degree
from St. Lawrence University. In Spring, 2000, she was Master
Poet-in-Residence at Columbia College, Chicago. In 2002, she was one of
three finalists for the position of Poet Laureate of California.
Published material, CV of DIANE DI PRIMA
Poet, Prose Writer, Playwright and Teacher
This Kind of Bird Flies Backward, Totem Press, New York, 1958
Various Fables from Various Places, (editor), G.P. Putnam, New York, 1960
Dinners and Nightmares, Corinth Press, New York, 1961
The New Handbook of Heaven, Auerhahn Press, San Francisco, 1962
The Man Condemned to Death, (translator), no press listed, New York, 1963
Poets' Vaudeville, Feed Folly Press, New York, 1964
Seven Love Poems from the Middle Latin, Poets Press, 1965
Haiku, Love Press, Topanga, CA, 1966
New Mexico Poem, Poets Press, New York, 1967
Earthsong, Poets Press, New York, 1968
Hotel Albert, Poets Press, New York, 1968
War Poems (editor), Poets Press, New York, 1968
Memoirs of a Beatnik, Olympia Press, Paris and New York, 1969
L.A. Odyssey, Poets Press, San Francisco, 1969
The Book of Hours, Brownstone Press, New York 1970
Kerhonkson Journal, Oyez, Berkeley, 1971
Revolutionary Letters, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1971, 1974, 1979
The Calculus of Variation, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 1972
Loba, Part I, Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1973
The Floating Bear: a Newsletter (editor), Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, 1973
Freddie Poems, Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, 1974
Brass Burnace Going Out, Pulp artforms-Intrepid Press, Buffalo, 1975
Selected Poems: 1956-1975, North Atlantic Books, Plainfield, VT, 1975
Loba, Part II, Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, 1976
The Loba As Eve, The Phoenix Book Shop, New York, 1977
Selected Poems: 1956-1976, North Atlantic Books, Plainfield, VT 1977
Loba: Parts 1 - 8, [Book I] Wingbow Press, Berkeley, 1978
Memoirs of a Beatnik (revised), Last Gasp Press, San Francisco, 1988
Wyoming Series, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 1988
The Mysteries of Vision, Am Here Books, Santa Barbara, 1988
Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1990
Seminary Poems, Floating Island, Point Reyes, 1991
The Mask Is the Path of the Star, Thinker Review Internatl, Louisville, 1993
Loba, [Parts 1 - 16, Books I & II] Penguin, New York, 1998
Dinners and Nightmares [expanded edition], Last Gasp, 1998
Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years, Viking, NY 2001
Fun with Forms [ltd. ed.] Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2001
Towers Down (with Clive Matson) Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2002
The Ones I Used to Laugh With, Habenicht Press, San Francisco 2003
TimeBomb, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2006
Over 300 literary and popular magazines and newspapers.
Work has appeared in over 100 anthologies.
Work has been translated into over twenty languages.
READINGS AND LECTURES:
at over 300 Universities and major institutions. (Partial list on request)
1961-69 The Floating Bear (literary newsletter), editor and publisher
1961-62 Kulchur, contributing editor
1965-67 Signal, associate editor
1968-70 Guerilla, contributing editor
1971-72 The Sunday Paper, columnist
1978-80 City Arts, columnist
1987-93 Mama Bear's News and Notes, columnist
1992-93 Harbin Quarterly, columnist
1964-69 Poets Press, owner: publisher, production, printing & editor
1974-now Eidolon Editions, owner: publisher, production & editor
1970-72 Zen Center Writing Workshop
1971 S.F. YMCA Women's Writing Workshop
1971-75 Intersection for the Arts, community workshops
1971-77 National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry in the Schools program. Workshops and residences in Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, Minnesota, etc.
1972 Esalen Institute, women's writing groups
1974-97 Naropa Institute, School of Poetics, faculty
1975-78 Poets Institute, community workshops
1976-77 Napa State Hospital, Artist in Residence
1976-78 Point Reyes Dance Palace, community workshops
1978 Neighborhood Foundation, community workshops
1979 New College of California, visiting writer
1980-87 New College of California, Masters in Poetics faculty
1983-91 San Francisco Institute of Magickal and Healing Arts, cofounder and faculty member
1990 Hartford St. Zen Center, community workshops
1990 UCSC, guest lecturer
1990-92 California College of Arts & Crafts, senior lecturer
1992 S.F. Art Institute, visiting faculty
1994 Atlantic Center for the Arts, Writer in Residence
1994 California Institute of Intergral Studies (CIIS), adjunct faculty Integral Studies Doctoral program
1995 CIIS, adjunct faculty, Women's Studies Doctoral Program
2000 Columbia College, Chicago, Master Poet in Residence
1995-present Private classes in poetry and poetics, San Francisco
Also workshops and intensive courses at various Arts, Poetry or Women's Festivals from 1966 to the present.
1961 Living Theatre, Monday night series, Stage manager
1961-65 New York Poets Theatre, co-founder and artistic director
1978-82 Lapis Trio, multi-media performance group, co-founder
Plays produced at
Judson Poets Theatre (New York City)
YMHA, New York
Cafe Cino (New York City)
Theatre for the New City (New York City)
Intersection (San Francisco)
Point Reyes Dance Palace
La Mama Hollywood
Exit Theatre (San Francisco)
Peculiar Works (New York City)
Poetry Used in Theatre Productions:
"Jazz Poets at the Grotto"
The Production Company, Theater Guinevere, NYC, 1983
Loba used in the film "In Search of the Goddess" directed by Christina Andreae
North Beach Repertory Theatre, San Francisco, 1992 and 1993
"The Beat at Book-It"
Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle, 1998
Writers Theatre, Chicago 1998
"Ave" from Loba directed by Ann Filmer
Estrogen Festival, Aardvark Theatre, Chicago, 2001
"Axis Mundi: The Story of the Witches"
The Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay, BC, Canada, 2003
Parts of Loba used.
Also work used in theatre piece based on beat poetry in Tucscon, 1998
"The Beat Generation, an American Dream" (featured interview)
"Poetry in Motion" (Canadian film, featured performance)
"What Happened to Kerouac?" (brief interview)
Also performed in several experimental movies in New York in the 1960's including:
"Normal Love" by Jack Smith
"In Between" by Jonas Mekas
"The Queen of Sheba Meets the Wolfman" by Andy Warhol
and short works by John Herbert McDowell and George Herms.
"Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds" (brief appearance)
"Gang of Souls" (video, featured interview)
"Beat Angels" (Mexican video, featured interview)
"Little Italy" (Public Television video by Will Parrinello, brief interview)
"Coming to Terms with Impermanence", a documentary video of my life and work is currently being completed by Melanie La Rosa.
1974 MOMA, S.F. "Rainbow Show"
1977 Point Reyes Dance Palace
1985 S.F. Dharmadhatu, "Dharma Art"
1989 Naropa Institute, "Word and Image"
1996 Whitney Museum & DeYoung Museum, "Beat Culture and the New America"
2004/05 S.F. State Poetry Center @ California Historical Society, "Poetry and Its Arts: Bay Area Interactions 1954-2004"
2005/06 Santa Monica MOMA & 4 other venues "Seminia Culture"
2006 Passaic County Community College, "Crossing Boundaries: Visual Art by Writers"
2005/07 Santa Monica Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum (UC, Berkeley), Nora Eccles Museum of Art (Utah State Univ.), Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art (Wichita. KS), Gray Art Gallery (NYU), "Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle"
2001 "Blue Landscapes" (watercolors), Passaic County Community College
2002 “Hibiscus & Hills” (watercolors) North Light Book Shop and Cafe, Cotati, California
2004 "The Interrupted Sleep" (collages) North Light Book Shop and Cafe, Cotati, California
2004 "The Moon Will Claim Me" (collages) Bird & Beckett Books & Records
WORKS SET TO MUSIC:
John Herbert McDowell
"Discovery of America" (a full-length musical)
"Poets Vaudeville" (a dance-opera)
"Whale Honey" (incidental music for a full-length play)
John Braden (song writer)
"Pierrot Solaire" (from Revolutionary Letters)
"Elegy for Charles Stanley"
Selections from Loba
"So Much of Space" (from Dinners and Nightmares)
Works Set to Music (cont'd)
"Ave" (from Loba)
"Rant" (for voices & interactive computer)
Joanna Lande (Iris: women's a capella group)
Selections from Loba
"Wyoming" (from Revolutionary Letters)
Steven Lyle Smith
"Studies in Light" (for mezzo-soprano and compact disc)
Also read and performed with the following musicians:
Chicago Art Ensemble, University of Chicago (1967)
Robert Hunter, Marshall California (1975)
Art Lande, Naropa Institute, Boulder (1982)
Alexander Marlowe, Great American Music Hall, S.F. (various dates)
An audio book, a reading by the author of all of Loba Books I and II, on 4 CDs (as published by Pengin) will be available in 2007.
GRANTS AND AWARDS:
1966 National Endowment on the Arts, for Poets Press
1966 & 1970 Committee on Poetry
1967 & 1970 Annual Literary Anthology Award, Coordinating Council of Little Magazines
1973 National Endowment on the Arts
1978 & 1979 Lapis Foundation
1986 Institute for Aesthetic Development
1987 The Secret Six - Medal of Valor
1993 National Poetry Association - Lifetime Service Award
1994 Aniello Lauri Award for Creative Writing
1994 Artist in Residence, Atlantic Center for the Arts
1999 Received Doctor of Literature (honorary degree) from St. Lawrence University
2000 Master Poet in Residence, Columbia College, Chicago
2002 & 2005 Finalist (one of three) for Poet Laureate of San Francisco
2003 Finalist (one of three) for Poet Laureate of California
2006 Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement and Community Service
2008 Official Poet Laureate of the City of San Francisco
Various grants for The Poets Institute (Point Reyes), and as editor and publisher of The Floating Bear, and of Poets Press and Eidolon Editions.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF DIANE DI PRIMA’S WORK
Diane di Prima gives us a rare opportunity to view the Beat Generation
and its subsequent journey to the East through a woman's eyes.
Where there was a strong writer who could hold her own, like Diane di
Prima, we would certainly work with her and recognize her. She was a
a few people like her get made every few thousand years, in order to
highlight the dullness of the rest.
Ms. di Prima runs without faltering into the realm of myth making. . .
. With images that flash with clarity and brilliance of color in the
mind’s eye, Loba paces back through time to femaleness as an element in
Growing up in the fifties, you had to figure it out for yourself—which
she did, and stayed open—as a woman, uninterested in any possibility of
static investment or solution. Her search for human center is among the
most moving I have witnessed.
The proof of Di Prima’s work lies in its moods and perceptions, which
are not frozen within the Beat environment; anyone can identify.
The gathering in one volume of the eight parts of the Loba sequence
offers the opportunity for an overview of di Prima’s ambitious construct,
which directs itself essentially toward an epic realization of the female
She has an ear thank heaven, a sense of the lyric that places her among
the best. How few poets can write a sentence! But di Prima reels them off
long sinuous sentences. . that move when they should move and stop when
they should stop. . . she is eloquent. . and she delights in grammar, the
living grammar that will keep her poems memorable long after her
cacophonic siblings have coughed themselves into silence.
A founder and editor of several of the most significant Beat journals,
organizer of some of the original poetry readings, an accomplished and
prolific poet whose relative obscurity compared to the men with whom she
is usually associated is something of a scandal today.
A true sage-poet.
Diane di Prima, revolutionary activist of the 1960s’ Beat literary
renaissance, heroic in life and poetics; a learned humorous bohemian,
classically educated, and twentieth-century radical, her writing, informed
by Buddhist equanimity, is exemplary in imagist, political and mystical
modes. A great world poet in the second half of American century, she
broke barriers of race-class identity, delivered a major body of verse
brilliant in its particularity.
I’m glad to have Loba. They are old incantations made new in our living
In the twentieth century, Woman has liberated herself from the pedestal
upon which she has been set up,’ mostly by men. Loba enthrones her again,
only this time it is done by herself.
There’s primal magic at work here. Diane di Prima pulls readers and
hearers of Loba into the center of Yin, and imbues us with life power.
Loba is a mysterious compelling poem or series of poems whose vision of
the female godhead is precise, ever changing, even deepening. It
incorporates ecstasy and rot, all the forms of the female experience from
birth through death, transmuting them into poetry that seizes the
imagination. Diane di Prima has borrowed from many mythologies to create
her own luminous myth of the wolf goddess.
Loba is an actual touchable visionary poem of sentience and
myriad-minded mammal nature. Loba is about points and swirls of energy,
about alchemy, and about the biology of imagination. It all happens in the
real, ever-arising universes.
My response to Loba is one of awe and gratitude. Blood-drenched and
liberating, this is a poem for the ages.
This epic poem is a radical classic—truly original, imbued with the
raw, the wild.. the feminine. . . a re-cultivation of inspiration through
These oracular poems sing out in testament & celebration of fierce
formic psyche & wisdom, The Loba-cycle is a potent mythic adventure
everyone should experience.
The poem induces a lovely experience of this world as exactly another
world; it would retrieve the world for women. I’ve very pleased to welcome
it in its entirety so far.
I love this book. Its one to travel with. Wander through, growl, fall
down and get up again. People and poets can only be grateful that Diane di
Prima’s illuminated and gnarly words are beating through American poetry.
Aphrodisiac and meditation, a sumptuous celebration of body and mind,
Loba exalts the mutable world with fragrance and fire. It is a brilliant
ON RECOLLECTIONS OF MY LIFE AS A WOMAN:
It's her very finest writing.
Recollections of My Life as a Woman is a brilliant and disturbing book.
Because it is so unashamedly personal and true, it will disturb all those
who lived that passionate time when theatre and poetry, love and
revolution seemed at last conjoined. And those who have not lived that
stirring time will stand amazed at the creative world that Diane di
Prima’s life embodies.
Diane di Prima is bona fide root-stock. An amazing creative force,
Diane was and remains a major talent, and an inspiration, and this book is
either a wonderful first dip into her life and mind, or a source text for
a deeper understanding of her fastidious and magical poetry. For me, it’s
both, and a rare treat. I urge readers to make her acquaintance.
A bountiful, blessed book! Using words like wants, the poetess leads us
through her early formative years in the creative heart of New York’s
artistic world. This is a defining autobiography for a certain section of
the twentieth century.
Recollections of My Life as a Woman was wonderful for me personally to
he able to reminisce again about old friends, McClure, Ginsberg,
Burroughs, Ferlinghetti, among others. This is a must read for women,
poets, and people looking for a way to define their life’s work. A romp of
a read! I loved it.
No writer of fiction could create a tale to equal the incredible story
of Diane di Prima’s journey through life. She shares with us her struggles
and triumphs, painting an unforgettable portrait of people and places that
make the reader feel like a traveling companion on her life’s journeys.
One of the enduring poets of the Beat Generation, her strength of spirit
and honesty shine through every page of this memoir.
Links to Other Websites for More Information
[This page from Archive dot com. Have not checked these links. - DC]
by Diane Di Prima
Buy Diane di Prima Books at: www.bird-beckett.com
Beat Page - Diane di Prima
di Prima at the Blue Neon Alley
di Prima - bio and links
di Prima Papers, University of Louisville
di Prima, Loba
Prima, Diane - University of Delaware
Books | Diane di Prima
Monk - jazz poetry - Diane Di Prima.
autori della Beat Generation: Diane Di Prima
of a Beatnik, by Diane Di Prima
Di Prima @ Poetry In Revolt-
on Djuna Barnes & Diane di Prima by Apollinaire Scherr
Diane DiPrima, Poet.:
BASEBALL ASSOCIATION FMS Diane
DiPrima 1997 Cosmic Player Plate
DiPrima's REVOLUTIONARY LETTERS notebook
from a Cool Place by Diane DiPrima
DiPrima. Afterword (for the last bear).
what's new this year contact DC at <email@example.com>