Diane di Prima

just as I caught the train I think I saw you
shuffling to the horizon to stamp it flat
(from “The Beach”)

Born August 6, 1934

Diane, a poet, was raised in Brooklyn and studied physics at Swarthmore College. Most of her life she wrote poetry, and in the late 50s joined up with other beats. She became a good friend to Ezra Pound and later corresponded with Kenneth Patchen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg. When she met Ginsberg in 1957, she also met Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac. Diane has been involved with the Monday night series for the Living Theatre, a model, an aid in publishing Yugen (a literary journal), and published her own books of prose. She studied Zen Buddhism and then Tibetan Buddhism. Among one of her famous lines: “The only war that matters is the war against your imagination” (from “Rant”).

From the San Francisco Sentinal, “She is the author of 44 books of poetry and prose, including Pieces of a Song (City Lights, 1990), Loba: Books I and II (Penguin, 1998), Recollections of My Life as a Woman (Viking, 2001) and the new expanded version of Revolutionary Letters (Last Gasp Press of San Francisco, 2007).”

In May of 2009, Diane received the honor of Poet Laureate of San Francisco. There is currently a Facebook movement to rename Rose Alley to Diane di Prima Street in San Francisco. From Rudi di Prima:

I decided to begin a petition to organize to rename Rose Alley (which runs parallel to Haight and Page from Market to Webster) Diane DiPrima Street in honor of the Poet Laureate of San Francisco. I chose this street because it intersects Laguna Street between Page and Haight where she lived from 1978 to 1996. It also happens to have been extended between Buchanan and Webster, which happens to be right next to the flat on Page St. where we lived when I was born in 1970 (we left the in ’73). So, Rose Alley is right next to 2 places where Diane lived for over 20 years all together. In addition to the apt location, her middle name also happens to be Rose! If we get a lot of people on board on Facebook, and circulate some petitions online or onEarth or both, we should easily be able to accomplish this and honor the name of a woman who has worked tirelessly in the name of Poetry, Freedom (political, sexual, social…), Healing in San Francisco.

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