Revolutionary Letters: 50th Anniversary Edition (Hardcover)

Revolutionary Letters: 50th Anniversary Edition (Hardcover)

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Author: Diane di Prima

Publisher: City Lights (2021)

By turns a handbook of countercultural living, a manual for street protest, and a feminist broadside against the repressive state apparatus, Revolutionary Letters is a modern classic, as relevant today as it was at its inception, 50 years ago.

During the tumult of 1968, Beat poet Diane di Prima began writing her "letters," poems filled with a potent blend of utopian anarchism and Zen-tinged ecological awareness that were circulated via underground newspapers and stapled pamphlets. In 1971, Lawrence Ferlinghetti published the first collection of these poems in his iconic Pocket Poets Series, and di Prima would go on to publish four subsequent editions, expanding the collection each time. During the last years of her life, di Prima got to work on the final iteration of this lifelong project, collecting all of her previously published "letters" and adding the new work, poems written from 2007 up to the time of her death in October 2020. Published in a board-bound edition that proudly features the original edition's cover art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

"There is a generosity and affection in Revolutionary Letters that I find myself returning to, always, when I'm at my most cynical and feeling lost for any understanding of what a better world might look like. When I need to be grounded and re-centered in my understanding of community care as a living, breathing, full-time mission. And, quite simply, when I need to be reminded of how language can begin on the page, and echo far beyond."

–Hanif Abdurraqib

"What's astonishing about Diane di Prima's Revolutionary Letters is how these poems are adamantly useful. A manual of insurgent instruction, these poems tell you how to mitigate tear gas and sleep deprivation, eat a healthy diet, and overthrow the state. This book is ever more urgent in our moment, as a resurgent left faces down the apocalypse. Revolutionary Letters is a time machine towards a better future."

–Ken Chen

"With this new and expanded edition we are offered a window onto a master poet redefining revolution over her lifetime. Di Prima continues to interrogate the ways in which we have been taught to live, love, eat, write, fight and take control. How can we make the most of this book and its wisdom? It's not enough to simply read it or even to write our own Revolutionary Letters. These poems are not realized until we are called upon to act."

–Cedar Sigo

"How do 'we' keep fighting? There is no one way, but sometimes you think about lines in Diane di Prima's Revolutionary Letters. Di Prima's 'letters' feel like they were written to the all of you that always is somewhere coming together. And here you thought this classic couldn't get any better."

–Wendy Trevino