Revolutionary Letters by Diana Di Prima (Silver Press)

Tears in the Fence

This new U.K. edition ofRevolutionary Lettersgathers up fifty years of Di Prima’s anarchic and insightful series of poems which she started writing back in 1968. Moving to New York City in the 1950s she embedded herself in the alternative culture of the Beatniks in Greenwich Village before embracing the Black Panther movement, drugs, feminism, counterculture politics, direct action, and what we now call small press publishing.

The book contains freeform rants, comments upon topical events, advice to friends and/or would-be revolutionaries, lists, cynicism, utopian ideologues and utopian dreams. Somewhat surprisingly, alongside the down-to-earth survival techniques she shares there is also the presence of the spiritual weaving through her work alongside questioning insight:

You cannot write a single line w/ out a cosmology

a cosmogony

laid out, before all eyes

[…]

There is no way out of the spiritual battle

the war is the war against the imagination

you…

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