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Curator Reviews

Penny Arcade

Poet Diane Di Prima wrote this book for the money in 1968 but is is still an unabashed portait of Beat and queer life in the 1950's to the late 60's. It is an erotic travelogue of NY in the 60's and shines a special light on the New York Underground when being queer, feminist and an artist was still a way to be oppositional to the dominant culture.

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Featured Title of the 1969 Book Club

Straddling the lines between fiction and real life, Di Prima’s Memoirs is set up as a series of (for some readers overly exhausting) sexual encounters in New York, and represents a distinct time capsule of a “1950s world of easy communal living in New York’s tenements and sex without consequences,” as Danielle Dumain put it in this 2017 appreciation. Among the few women writers of the Beats, she was a co-founder of New York Poets Society, and lives today in California where she campaigns for the Fat Acceptance Movement.

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