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Diane Di Prima letters and poetry collection


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

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.

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.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Purchase, 1969.

Processed by staff, 1969. Revised by Anita A. Wellner, August 1992. Encoded by Thomas Pulhamus, March 2010. Further encoding by Lauren Connolly, November 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2010 March 5
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

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.

Letters, 1962.
Folder F1
Physical Description

5 items (17 leaves) 21 pp.

Letters, 1963 Jan-Feb.
Folder F2
Scope and Contents

5 items (14 leaves) 27 pp.

Letters, 1963 Mar-May.
Folder F3
Scope and Contents

7 items (24 leaves) 34 pp.

Letters, 1969-1971.
Folder F4
Scope and Contents

7 items (9 leaves) 21 pp.

Letters, [1963-1971].
Folder F5
Scope and Contents

6 items (7 leaves) 12 pp.

Scope and Contents

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).
Poems, 1957-1966.
Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Consists of one typescript titled

Freddie Poems, which bears autograph corrections and a signed cover sheet. The poems are dated between 1957 and 1966. Physical Description

1 item (51 leaves) 51 pp.

Print, Suggest