Our good friends at Lost & Found are at it again with subjects near and dear to our heart. From their e-newsletter, which went out this morning, find postcards, literary history and news of one of the poets to which the 2021 Poetry Postcard Fest is dedicated:
Although we find her presence still very much among us, it is hard to even measure the loss of Diane di Prima, certainly a guiding light and inspiration to so much of the work we have done and the ways we have conducted ourselves in the world. The work, of course, will continue, along with the inspiration.
Along with Sheppard Powell, Diane’s husband and life partner, and Sara Larsen, poet and long-time assistant to Diane, I have been appointed a co-executor of her estate, and there are already many projects underway. These include translations into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish, with more on the way. A new edition of Revolutionary Letters, along with the long anticipated Spring & Autumn Annals, written in 1964 but never published, will be out from City Lights this Fall. We are also eager to put together a book of her poetics, drawing from many of the texts we published at Lost & Found.
Diane continued writing to the very last. For several years she had been inspired by visitations from Sappho, prompted by all the white space left in the edition of Anne Carson’s translation, a conveyance she converted into notebooks for an ongoing series of poems filling many copies of that book.
But over the final six or so months of her life, Diane began a new series called “The Goodbyes.” As Sheppard put it, she felt it was important—particularly as a Buddhist—to make her feelings clear before continuing on her journey. In lieu of a more formal memorial, we give you these three “Goodbyes,” two of them to herself, and one addressed to me and our common endeavor.
— Ammiel Alcalay
5/9/20 The Goodbyes—Diane di Prima
in the golden light
of the night sky
I sing to the black stars
Read Lost & Found Editor Iris Cushing’s writing on the meaning and impact of Diane’s legacy, in the wake of her passing, in these reflections here: Diane di Prima’s Guidebook to Revolution, and On Diane di Prima.