University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Collection of Diane Di Prima
Letters and Poetry

1957 - 1971

Manuscript Collection Number: 183
Accessioned: Acquired 1969
Extent: 31 items ( 166 pp. ).
Content: Letters and poems
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1969; revised August 1992 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

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 Contents 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.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in two series. The first series, consisting of the letters, is arranged chronologically. The second series consists of the typed manuscript of Freddie Poems.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

     Series I.  Letters, 1962-1971
          Consists of the letters of Di Prima to her parents,
          Frank and Emma Di Prima.  The letters describe her
          personal life and travels, including detailed
          information about her children, finances, and family
          life.  The letters are arranged chronologically.

F1   Letters, 1962
     5 items (17 leaves) 21 pp.

F2   Letters, 1963 Jan-Feb 
     5 items (14 leaves) 27 pp.

F3   Letters, 1963 Mar-May
     7 items (24 leaves) 34 pp.

F4   Letters, 1969-1971
     7 items (9 leaves) 21 pp.

F5   Letters, [1963-1971]
     6 items (7 leaves) 12 pp.

     Series II.  Freddie Poems, 1957-1966
          These poems were first published in 1966 as Poems for
          Freddie by Poets Press.  They were republished in 1974 
          by Eidolon Editions as Freddie Poems.  Fred Herko in
          fiction, drama, and poetry is the subject of these
          poems.  A copy of Freddie Poems is available in Special
          Collections (PS 3507 .I68 F73 1974).

F6   Poems, 1957-1966
     Consists of one typescript titled Freddie Poems, which
     bears autograph corrections and a signed cover sheet.  The
     poems are dated between 1957 and 1966.  1 item (51 leaves)
     51 pp.
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