Gloria di Prima

Literary Birthday – 6 August – Diane di Prima

Diane di Prima was born 6 August 1934 and died 25 October 2020.

Five Quotes

  1. I think the poet is the last person who is still speaking the truth when no one else dares to. I think the poet is the first person to begin the shaping and visioning of the new forms and the new consciousness when no one else has begun to sense it; I think these are two of the most essential human functions.
  2. The only war is the war against the imagination.
  3. The phrase ‘breaking ground’ kept coming into my head. I knew that this Allen Ginsberg, whoever he was, had broken ground for all of us – all few hundreds of us – simply by getting this published. I had no idea yet what that meant, how far it would take us. The poem put a certain heaviness in me, too. It followed that if there was one Allen there must be more, other people besides my few buddies writing what they spoke, what they heard, living, however obscurely and shamefully, what they knew, hiding out here and there as we were- and now, suddenly, about to speak out. For I sensed that Allen was only, could only be, the vanguard of a much larger thing. All the people who, like me, had hidden and skulked… all these would now step forward and say their piece. Not many would hear them, but they would, finally, hear each other. I was about to meet my brothers and sisters.
  4. I think that people are relying a little too much right now on the idea that the cyber-network is going to be here forever. When they don’t make a hardcopy of something, they really think that nobody’s ever going to pull the plug and that there could ever be a day when the country is in chaos — a million little nations [with] no electric grid. If there’s no electric grid, how can there be a cyber-grid? I think that’s a big drawback.
  5. You have an obligation to your work to get it out. It’s like you have to kick your kids out the door; it’s the same thing.

Diane di Prima was an American poet associated with the Beat movement. She published more than 40 books. Her poetry collections include This Kind of Bird Flies Backwards and Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems. She was the author of the semi-autobiographical Memoirs of a Beatnik and the memoir Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years.

Image source:

Onehandclapping, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th August 2014