Jeanne DiPrima

Jeanne must have been Shunryu Suzuki's youngest real student and maybe Mitsu's youngest tea ceremony student, and she sewed rakusu and okesa with Yoshida too. Yoshida who we called Yoshida Roshi came to ZC from Japan just to teach us the proper way to sew these garments of ordination. - DC

Cuke Podcasts with Jeanne 🔊 🔊 🔊

Broad Mind - a Brief Memory Sent March 13, 2021

from an email Jeanne sent DC July 14, 2017 - in Interviews

From Jeanne's Facebook page:

Jeanne's mother is Dianne DiPrima, a beat poet and early Suzuki student. Dianne spent a good amount of time at Tassajara with her children. Jeanne was the oldest and worked with DC in the dining room serving guests. Dianne dedicated Memoirs of a Beatnik (1969) to Jeanne. Jeanne's step-father was Alan Marlowe. Her aunt is Jeri Marlowe.

Here are two poems for Jeanne that Diane wrote. - thanks for sending them Jeanne

LETTER TO JEANNE (at Tassajara)

dry heat of the Tassajara canyon
moist warmth of San Francisco summer
bright fog reflecting sunrise as you
step out of September zendo
heart of your warmth, my girl, as you step out
into your Vajra pathway, glinting
like your eyes turned sideways at us
your high knowing 13-year-old
wench smile, flicking your thin
ankles your trot toward Adventure
all sizes & shapes, O may it be various
for you as for me it was, sparkle
like dustmotes at dawn in the back
of grey stores, like the shooting stars
over the Hudson, wind in the Berkshire pines

O you have landscapes dramatic like mine
never was, uncounted caves
to mate in, my scorpio, bright love
like fire light up your beauty years
on these new, jagged hills

Diane DiPrima



when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted

but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

Diane DiPrima


Dianne DiPrima page

There are a lot of people writing tributes to my mother right now, and my brother is spearheading a movement to rename the small park on Page Street after her.  Some remember her art, some her way of living, and some her manner.  She could be gruff, and somewhat aloof. The bristles were her way of protecting her art energy and making sure it always had space to thrive.  She threw me around the world, and taught me how to find plenty in every situation, regardless. If you had blood in your veins you could always put food on the table one way or the other, enough to feed everybody.  Sometimes, with Allen Ginsberg and that crew, it was their actual blood that they sold for those groceries.  But one way or the other Diane always had art being made and a lot of soup on the stove, lentil or garbanzo bean soup. 

Diane brought me to my teacher, Suzuki Roshi when I was six. SIX!  And moved us back out to California when I was eleven so she could study with Roshi.  That allowed me to begin sitting and studying tea ceremony with Okusan at 12 years old. I sewed my rakusu when I was 12 (1969), and I got so spend those amazing summers at Tassajara because Diane knew that Roshi had something she wanted.  I am overwhelmed as I think of all she did for me to help me grow and to help me practice in this lifetime.  I know I am blessed. 

I remember sewing your priests robe under the auspices of Yoshida Roshi. Do you remember that?  

DC: Of course.

I felt so important and so connected to everyone when I was allowed to work on it.  I hope you know that the time I spent at Tassajara was incredibly important to me.  I felt such a sense of family among the students. I remember when I sat Tangario (sp?) I only had to sit for three days not five.  Wow was that hard.  Can you imagine sitting for three days when you were 13? 

DC: I think three days was the most people did unless it was for practice period. Jeanne was treated as an adult, followed the same schedule as everyone.