Remembering Diane

Diane di Prima left our plane of existence this past Sunday (25 Oct 2020). I recently came across the attached document in my researches, and wanted to share it with everyone. This is an early printing of Diane’s Revolutionary Letters, soon after she moved to San Francisco in 1968 and joined in Free City. Free City was the Digger project that wove together dozens of communes that had formed out of the Summer of Love.

These are the first fifteen poems of what eventually were sixty-three published by City Lights. This set of fifteen was originally printed by the New York Communication Company which was inspired by the SF Communication Company which itself was inspired by the Diggers. The NY Com/Co publication of the Revolutionary Letters was then reprinted widely in the underground press (such as the attached excerpt from the underground literary journal Quixote, thanks to Independent Voices).

In Revolutionary Letter #11, Diane mentions going on a free food run with Kirby Doyle to supply the Free City Convention which was held at the Carousel Ballroom on May 1, 1968. This was one of the Digger events that inspired the Sutter Street Commune to set up the Free Print Shop and start publishing the inter-communal newsletter Kaliflower the following year.

These poems seem eerily reminiscent of the present as our democracy is under attack by many of the forces that Diane foresaw half a century ago.


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