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A Very Personal Message To The Poetry Community On Behalf Of Diane Di Prima.

Earlier this month, my spirit animal and close family friend poet Michael McClure sent me an email regarding San Francisco Poet Laureate Diane Di Prima who is now 78 years old.  Michael knows that Diane has had a particularly important impact on my life.  Her memoir, Recollections of My Life As A Woman changed me on a fundamental level.  Her very existence, even prior to reading her memoir, shaped the way I viewed myself as an emerging  woman and as a writer.  Upon reading Recollections, I knew I could never go back to the way I viewed myself again.  I could not NOT define myself as, above all things, a poet and a feminist, titles I had always struggled with.

Michael McClure wrote me:

Diane is suffering with several painful and even life-threatening illnesses, including removal of all teeth, arthritis from her earlier back operation, extreme problems with glaucoma and a needed operation; but that's just the top of the list. Despite all, she is in unexpectedly fine spirits. If you know of any way to help her, she would appreciate it and I would also.
So here I am, asking you—the poetry community—to support one of the most important poets in our lifetime.  I have set up a donations page for Diane at Give Forward which will help to cover her rehabilitation and costs from several surgeries over the next couple of months.  Please donate, even if it's just a dollar or a message expressing love and warm wishes.  (But if you don't give a dollar... to quote a Di Prima poem, I say to you:  "Get Your Neck Off My Knife".)
I spoke to Diane today by phone and when I told her about the fundraiser I would launch today on Harriet, she said to me, toothless and ruthless as ever: "That's all great and we need the money... but more importantly, how are your poems coming along these days?"
Originally Published: April 17th, 2012

Actress and poet Amber Tamblyn was born in Venice, California. She is the author of the poetry collections Free Stallion (2005), winner of the Borders Book Choice Award for Breakout Writing, and Bang Ditto (2015). She self-published the poetry, art, and photography collections Plenty of Ships and Of the Dawn, and...