The Poetry Deal
Author: Diane di Prima
Publisher: City Lights (2014)
Framed by two passionate, and critical, prose statements assessing her adopted home city, The Poetry Deal is a collection of poems that provide a personal and political look at forty years of Bay Area culture. Often elegiac in tone, the book captures the poet's sense of loss as she chronicles the deaths of friends from the AIDS epidemic as well as the passing of illustrious countercultural colleagues like Philip Whalen, Pigpen from the Grateful Dead, and Kirby Doyle. She also recalls and mourns out-of-town inspirations like Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Audre Lorde, and Ezra Pound. Yet even as she laments the state of her city today, she finds triumph and solace in her own relationships, the marriages of her friends, the endurance of City Lights, and other symbols of San Francisco's heritage.
"The Poetry Deal shines with eros and kindness and the reality of inspiration. No American or Anarchist voice or soul-building heart has ever been more clear. The pages are fierce with love and generosity."
"The Poetry Deal is fresh flame from a revolutionary fire that continues to burn. Every woman of every age should carry it in a purse with their pepper spray. Diane is the ultimate weapon."
"In her latest collection as San Francisco Poet Laureate, di Prima is again at the height of her powers, with 'the act of writing itself more compelling than ever.'"
"I return to this book again and again to remember what it means to own and further a poetic and political lineage."
"The Poetry Deal [is] an urgent success of the highest order . . . Diane di Prima should always be high on the American poetry play list."
"Recounting a life in poetry, her commitment to progressive thought and action, and a half-century of Bay Area culture, crises, and change, di Prima writes at the top of her game . . . di Prima recalls the time an institutionalized Ezra Pound told her that 'poets have to eat'; rarely has a poet left so much bread on the table for future poets."
–Starred Reader Review, Publishers Weekly
"This is a volume that traverses the specific and reaches the universal. She marks her poems with great strength and utmost sensitivity. They are poems that live in real time; not cyberspace. di Prima's poetry is well-lived and poetry worth living in. She is a gifted teacher enjoining the reader to face life's lessons for the attendant dilemmas of old age. Carry this book with you. It will arm you with continuous insight and flaming provocation.”