Diane Di Prima letters and poetry collection

Biographical and Historical Notes

Diane Di Prima, born August 6, 1934, in New York, N.Y., is an American poet whose work has been identified with the Beat Generation.

Her education included attendance at Swarthmore College from 1951 to 1953.

In addition to writing poetry, Di Prima's career has included the following editorial positions: co-editor with Le Roi Jones (Imamu Amiri Baraka) of Floating Bear (1961–1963) and later sole editor from 1963–1969; contributing editor to Kulchur (1960–1961); associate editor of Signal Magazine (1963–1965); publisher and editor of The Poets Press, New York (1964–1969); and editor and publisher of Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, California (1972–1976). She has also been associated with the Wingbow Press, Berkeley, California and an instructor at the Naropa Institute (1974– ) and the New College of California (1979– ). Di Prima was also a co-founder of the American Theatre for Poets.

Diane Di Prima has written books of poetry, plays, and fiction, as well as contributing to the writings of others.


Charters, Ann (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 16. The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America. Part I: A-L. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1983. pp. 149-160.

Greiner, Donald J. (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 5. American Poets Since World War II. Part I: A-K. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1980. pp. 202-205.

Lepper, Gary M. A Bibliographical Introduction to Seventy-five Modern American Authors. Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976. pp. 149-155.

Metzger, Linda (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 13. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1984. pp. 150-151.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of thirty letters and a collection of poems, all written by American poet, Diane Di Prima. Diane Di Prima's letters, spanning the dates 1962–1971, are written to her parents, Frank and Emma Di Prima. The collection of poetry, titled the Freddie Poems, consists of poems dated between 1957–1966. Freddie Poems was published in 1966 as Poems for Freddie and in 1974 as Freddie Poems.

In her letters, Di Prima reveals a great deal of information about her family life and travels. Her letters originate from several California locations, including Stinson Beach (1962), Topanga (1962–1963), Sawyers Bar (1969), and San Francisco (1970–1971). She discusses her children (Jeanne, Dominique, Alexander, Tara, Rudra), her husbands Alan Marlowe and Grant Fisher, jobs, educational possibilities, finances, and life in San Francisco.