Diane di Prima has been writing poetry in San Francisco ever since the summer of 1968, when she arrived from New York. At 80, she continues to write newsy, visionary poetry. I got a chance to sit down and speak with her about her work, her past, and her future.
Rupert: Diane, it’s such a pleasure to be in your company, you’re looking lovely this afternoon. How have you been?
Diane di Prima: I’m feeling wonderful, I’m so glad to be here. You’re looking handsome yourself.
Rupert: I actually just got back from the gym, it must be that.
Diane di Prima: You’re looking sharp, Rupert, let me just leave it at that.
Rupert: So tell me, what have you been doing lately? Have you been writing any poetry?
Diane di Prima: When am I not wrting poetry? I believe the mere act of waking up and getting out of bed is a poem itself. Life is poetry.
Rupert: Interesting, I agree with it myself.
Diane di Prima: Yes.
Rupert: Is there anything else you’ve been doing?
Diane di Prima: My grandson showed me this video game he was playing on his computer, called Worms Armageddon. I just watched him play it for hours and hours, so entertaining. We didn’t have technology like this during the Beat movement. So for me to be able to watch my grandson move these cartoon worms around, it’s really something special.
Rupert: Cartoon worms, huh? That sounds bananas.
Diane di Prima: It was magical. He let me play, and at first I only played for a few minutes, but eventually I started borrowing his laptop just so I could play it. I’ve gotten very good at the game, too. It’s really given me a lot of inspiration for my work.
Rupert: Do you think you could share a Worms Armageddon inspired poem with me?
Diane di Prima: I’d love to, Rupert.
Small, pink, slimy yet frailThose worms I love, it never failsMoving the worms across the screenDefeat my opponents, through blood and screamWaking up in a cold sweatThose worms, those worms, I’ll never forgetBeautiful squiggles of pink and brownIf only I too were a worm in this town.
“Worms” will be included in Diane di Prima’s upcoming collection of poetry, Spring and Autumn Annals, coming in 2019.
Rupert: Thank you for your time, Diane.
Diane di Prima: It’s my pleasure. Good bye.