Synopses & Reviews
An evocative, gritty memoir by the leading woman writer of the Beat Generation.
In this rich and passionate memoir, influential poet Diane di Prima explores the first three decades of her extraordinary life. Only by heroic effort was she able to break away from her intense Brooklyn Italian family to follow through on the lifelong commitment to poetry she made in high school. Immersed in the proto-Beat world of Manhattan's early 1950s Bohemia, she emerged as a major force, not only establishing herself as a poet, but also coediting the influential literary newsletter, The Floating Bear, and cofounding The Poet's Theatre.
Recollections of My Life as a Woman chronicles the intense, creative cauldron of those years as the Beat movement emerged on both coasts, and the country accelerated into the sixties. Poetry, painting, dance, and theater flowed into one another, and well-known figures from all those worlds-including Merce Cunningham, Frank O'Hara, Audre Lorde, Trisha Brown, and Franz Kline-move through her story. Di Prima was a deliberate single parent at a time when that was unheard of, and her relationships and sexuality were as revolutionary as her writing. This is a powerful and unique remembering of how one woman's life revealed itself to her.
"Not unlike poet di Prima's verse, this memoir is daring, honest, simultaneously colloquial and lyricalqualities that lend it authenticity and verve. By freely admitting that she can't possibly remember everything, di Prima captures the reader's trust and interest.... di Prima courageously turns life into art."
Denise Gess, Book Magazine
"She tells her story well, skillfully interweaving events with lyrical commentary on her inner life."Publisher's Weekly
"This journey of a young Italian American girl, through the minefields of her childhood in Brooklyn to her breakthrough as a liberated female intellectual decades before the modern women's movement began, is never less than honest and resounds with authenticity." The Washington Post
"These 'Recollections' are full of light and wonder." San Francisco Chronicle