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
The leading woman writer of the Beat Generation explores her first three decades in this evocative and gritty memoir. She traces her life from her upbringing in an intense Brooklyn Italian family to her emergence as a major force of Manhattan's early 1950s Bohemia.
In Recollections of My Life as a Woman, Diane di Prima explores the first three decades of her extraordinary life. Born into a conservative Italian American family, di Prima grew up in Brooklyn but broke away from her roots to follow through on a lifelong commitment to become a poet, first made when she was in high school. Immersing herself in Manhattan's early 1950s Bohemia, di Prima quickly emerged as a renowned poet, an influential editor, and a single mother at a time when this was unheard of. Vividly chronicling the intense, creative cauldron of those years, she recounts her revolutionary relationships and sexuality, and how her experimentation led her to define herself as a woman. What emerges is a fascinating narrative about the courage and triumph of the imagination, and how one woman discovered her role in the world.
About the Author
Diane Di Prima is the author of thirty-four books of poetry and prose, which have been translated into twenty languages. She lives in San Francisco, where she works as a writer and teacher.