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Diane di Prima in the Beatnik Days

March 31, 2017

Seymour Krim in his 1960 anthology The Beats describes the writer of Memoirs of a Beatnik and Loba with his wonderfully archaic Beatnik slang of the time:


“Devouring-eyed Diane Di Prima once wanted to be a theoretical physicist; went to Swarthmore; gave in to the hip muse and began writing her very inside, real, stylish, lethal poetry-prose. All of 25 or so she is one of the very few ultra-swinging girl writers in the scene; a very smart cookie, she is also honest, terse, hurt in a way that counts. Very gifted, writes with a fine cutting edge. Her future is important in literature as well as beat. An exciting writer who has concretized what people twice her age will never manage. She flirts with preciousness and never yields—sure sign that intelligence has pinned artifice to the mat, sure sign that we are witnessing the real stunning thing with this unusual kid.”

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Paul Varner