Thursday, October 16, 2008
Diane di Prima
Diane di Prima was born in Brooklyn, New York, a second generation American of Italian descent. She began writing at the age of seven, and made the decision to live her life as a poet at the age of fourteen.
She lived in Manhattan for many years, where she was known as the most important woman writer of the Beat movement. During that time 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. In 1965 she moved to upstate New York where she participated in Timothy Leary's psychedelic community at Millbrook.
For the past twenty years she has lived and worked in northern California, where she took part in the political activities of the Diggers, lived in a late-sixties' commune, studied Zen Buddhism, Sanskrit and alchemy, and raised her five children. From 1980 to 1986 she taught hermetic and esoteric traditions in poetry, in a short-lived but significant program at New College of California. Her work has been translated into over twenty languages.
She now lives and works in San Francisco, where she is one of the co-founders and teachers of the San Francisco Institute of Magical and Healing Arts. Her current works in progress include Not Quite Buffalo Stew, a satire of California life; an autobiographical memoir, Recollections of My Life as a Woman ; and a book on Shelley as magician/poet.