Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems

Diane di Prima, Author, Diane Di Prima, Author City Lights Books $15.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-87286-237-1
Here di Prima, a disciple of the Beat movement and a practicing Buddhist, records her search for spiritual fulfillment by way of various religious, political, romantic and intellectual pursuits. Unfortunately, the poet's metaphysical and political visions become lost in meaningless abstractions or banal generalities expressing a naive dream of goodness (in ``Revolutionary Letters'': ``Left to themselves people . . . share blankets, dope & children / they are not lazy or afraid''). An overtly spiritual piece, ``Paracelsus:'' offers the image of a hallucinogenic ``juice of stars / by circular stillation / smear / the inner man w/ the coction / till he burn / like worms of light in quicksilver.'' Of the many love poems, the most effective are those in which di Prima uses specific descriptive details to evoke particular moments unique to different relationships. In ``Poem in Praise of My Husband (Taos),'' she writes ``I suppose it hasn't been easy living with me either . . . / but we cling to each other / as if each thought the other was the raft / and he adrift alone. . . .'' Di Prima is at her best when concentrating on the subtle nuances and moods of human behavior. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/2001
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