“The Poetry Deal shines with eros and kindness and the reality of inspiration. No American or Anarchist voice or soul-building heart has ever been more clear. The pages are fierce with love and generosity.”–Michael McClure, author of Ghost Tantras
“The Poetry Deal is fresh flame from a revolutionary fire that continues to burn. Every woman of every age should carry it in a purse with their pepper spray. Diane is the ultimate weapon.”–Amber Tamblyn, author of Dark Sparkler
“In her latest collection as San Francisco Poet Laureate, di Prima is again at the height of her powers, with ‘the act of writing itself more compelling than ever.'”–Micah Ballard, author of Waifs and Strays
“I return to this book again and again to remember what it means to own and further a poetic and political lineage.”–Ana Bozicevic, author of Rise in the Fall
“The Poetry Deal [is] an urgent success of the highest order . . . Diane di Prima should always be high on the American poetry play list.”–Barbara Berman, The Rumpus
“Recounting a life in poetry, her commitment to progressive thought and action, and a half-century of Bay Area culture, crises, and change, di Prima writes at the top of her game . . . di Prima recalls the time an institutionalized Ezra Pound told her that ‘poets have to eat’; rarely has a poet left so much bread on the table for future poets.”—*Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“This is a volume that traverses the specific and reaches the universal. She marks her poems with great strength and utmost sensitivity. They are poems that live in real time; not cyberspace. di Prima’s poetry is well-lived and poetry worth living in. She is a gifted teacher enjoining the reader to face life’s lessons for the attendant dilemmas of old age. Carry this book with you. It will arm you with continuous insight and flaming provocation.”—Robert Sutherland-Cohen
Framed by two passionate, and critical, prose statements assessing her adopted home city, The Poetry Deal is a collection of poems that provide a personal and political look at forty years of Bay Area culture. Often elegiac in tone, the book captures the poet’s sense of loss as she chronicles the deaths of friends from the AIDS epidemic as well as the passing of illustrious countercultural colleagues like Philip Whalen, Pigpen from the Grateful Dead, and Kirby Doyle. She also recalls and mourns out-of-town inspirations like Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Audre Lorde, and Ezra Pound. Yet even as she laments the state of her city today, she finds triumph and solace in her own relationships, the marriages of her friends, the endurance of City Lights, and other symbols of San Francisco’s heritage.
Born in Brooklyn in 1934, Diane di Prima emerged as a member of the Beat Generation in New York in the late ’50s; in the early ’60s, she founded the important mimeo magazine The Floating Bear with her lover LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka). In the late ’60s, she moved to San Francisco, where she would publish her groundbreaking Revolutionary Letters (1971) with City Lights. Her other important books include Memoirs of a Beatnik, Pieces of a Dream, Recollections of My Life as a Woman, and Loba. She was named San Francisco Poet Laureate in 2009.
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