Diane DiPrima


born 1934

Beat Generation Writer

In On The Road Jack Kerouac writes: "The truth is we don't understand our women; we blame them and it's all our fault." Diane DiPrima: poet, playwright, magazine editor/publisher, political activist, mother of five children, and lover of men and women is the archetype, proto-stereotypical Beatnik chick. Dressed in her black tights, sandals and dangling earrings, with ample black mascara around the already dark Italian eyes- DiPrima is the image that one sees when conjuring up the women who made up the feminine ranks of the Beat Generation.

In 1953, the former Swarthmore physics major moved to New York's Lower East Side and began her life as a poet and cultural activist. She met and corresponded with Ezra Pound who was continuing his institutionalization at St. Elizabeth's mental hospital in Washington, D.C.

In 1957, she met Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac and other Beat Generation cast members.

Her first book of poetry This Kind of Bird Flies Backward was published in 1958. She met LeRoi Jones and his wife Hettie Cohen Jones and with LeRoi she edited and published Yugen and The Floating Bear newsletter.

In 1961 she met the poets and painters associated with the San Francisco Renaissance such as Michael McClure, Jay DeFeo, and Bruce Conner.

Her experience with the Beat Generation vortex has, in part, been captured in Memoirs of a Beatnik published by Olympia Press. In this written-for-hire chronicle, DiPrima describes, among other things, her sexual adventurers with key Beat personalities.

During the 1960s DiPrima was actively involved in the counter-culture, driving around the country in a Volkswagen bus, stopping off at Timothy Leary's psychedelic commune in Millbrook, New York and giving poetry readings in churches, coffee shops, prisons, and schools.

After settling in San Francisco in 1968, she joined the "Diggers" a radical political troupe.

As the 1960s changed to the 1970s, DiPrima became more inner-directed and contemplative and she focused on her Buddhist studies. She has taught at the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics and in 1983 she became a student of the Tibetan Buddhist Chogyon Trungpa Rinpoche.

DiPrima's life and work provides an important source of information on understanding the currents of the times as well as helping us better understand the significance that women played in the forging of the counter-culture.

Diane DiPrima

Pitching Record YEAR TEAM ERA W L IP ER BB K 1987 Beats 4.50 1 5 96 48 50 7 1991 Beats 3.70 15 11 206 85 72 132 1992 Beats 3.14 12 11 220 77 104 141 1993 Beats 4.17 13 14 192 89 72 117 1994 Beats 4.18 12 13 189 88 77 110 1995 Beats 3.59 9 12 180 72 63 108 6 seasons 3.81 62 66 1083 459 438 615

Diane DiPrima Interview

The Doctrine of Signatures

Diane DiPrima

There are knowable numbers too
As when the primrose reveals the six in its heart
But the number imprinted on my heart
Is a darker business.

Say this:  the pulse of pain
is a cycle of five.

			And you have not said
all.  The mighty wind
			blows from the 8 to the 7
thru the Tower called God's house
			What signature
shapes the vector of the breath
			flowing outward?

There is a smoke that arises from the heart
a pillar of cloud of the Will
			& we move toward the Good
like the stars, like young rams,     like a god
who yearns to be himself
			& frighten no one.

Source: Women of the Beat Generation, page 133

1997 Dharma Beats Roster

1997 Diane DiPrima Cosmic Player Plate
URL http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/diprima7.html
Published: December 24, 1996

© 1996, 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association
Email: editor@cosmicbaseball.com