Skip to main content

Diane Di Prima collection

Call Number: MS 71


The journal is the author's archives, presumably from when she was located in New York City: collection of carbons and drafts of letters, notes, journals, editorial work, etc. Includes much personal material. The two reel to reel tapes are recordings of Di Prima's poetry, and the "absurd" play was written in the round during the fall or winter of 1959 in pencil in several hands (bookseller indicates the play was by "Diane Di Prima, Freddie Herko, and James Waring").


  • 1953-1961, 1964?


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biographical / Historical

Diane Di Prima, a feminist beat poet, was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Greenwich Village in Manhattan where she joined the Beat movement. She became friends with many other authors of the era, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Amiri Baraka, and Audre Lorde and eventually joined Timothy Leary's community in upstate New York. In 1968 she moved to San Francisco, California, where in 2009 she was named the city's Poet Laureate.

Di Prima co-edited the literary magazine The Floating Bear with Amiri Baraka throughout most of the 1960s. Her published works in poetry, short stories, memoirs, and autobiography include This Kind of Bird Flies Backward (1958), Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems (2001), Dinners and Nightmares (1960), Memoirs of a Beatnik (1968), among other publications.


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case containing a journal (loose sheets, approximately 200 leaves); 2 reel to reel tape recordings; and a play (4 sheets).)

Physical Location

MS 71

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Phoenix Book Shop, March 24, 1966; Phoenix 87: 196[6], November 7, 1968.

Related Materials

Revolutionary Writings of Diane Di Prima, MS D201, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Other collections at Spencer Research Library that contain correspondence or other materials from Diane Di Prima include:

American Poetry - 20th Century literary ephemera collection - Letters by Robert Creeley, MS 15 (folder CR), Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Jim McCrary papers, MS 332, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Grist records, MS 53, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Papers of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, MS 136, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Guide to the American Poetry-20th Century Collection
Diane Di Prima collection
Finding aid prepared by alh, November 17, 1975. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2005. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Diane Di Prima collection, MS 71, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States