Diane di Prima’s Revolutionary Poetics

Andrea Brady in Berfrois:

“Remember / you can have what you ask for, ask for / everything.” In these, probably the most famous lines from Revolutionary Letters, Diane di Prima echoes Frank O’Hara’s assertion in his “Ode to Joy” that “We shall have everything we want and there’ll be no more dying.” Like her friend Frank, di Prima is writing about joy, “which will remake the world.”

Di Prima’s poetry channels her grandfather’s anarchist speeches of the 1930s, which emphasised love and solidarity as the weapons of working-class people against fascism. Domenico Mallozzi was an Italian immigrant, tailor and trade unionist, who would bring home “entire squalling families of would-be union organizers,” and Antoinette, di Prima’s grandmother, would entertain them “with her welcoming frugal abundance.”

More here.