Review / Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane diPrima

Pages: 194 / Publishing: Marion Boyards / Buy Here

In her memoir, Diane diPrima writes of her early years in New York and how she came into contact with the newly emerging Beat culture in the 1950s. But instead of giving the reader a glimpse into the creative environment that inspired writers and other artists, diPrima produced a faintly-veilded hardcore pornographic story of her late teenage years.

After leaving college, Diane diPrima moved to New York to live in the city that never sleeps; taking on jobs as a nude model for painters or as a photography model for softporn magazines. She lets herself float from day to day, reading and writing, as well as from bed to bed, having sex with numerous strangers.

Although the author gives an interesting insight into the development of New York from run down art centre to high end metropole, it was just not enough important material for me to like the memoir at all.

But slowly, imperceptibly, the days began to shorten, the grass turned brown, and with the first crickets a restlessness stirred in me for the quick combat and hard living of the city, for the play and the strife and the inexhaustible human interchange that was New York to me.

For anone trying to get into Beat Culture, I would recommend any of Jack Kerouacs short story collections which do a much bette job.

 I made my way back to the house and to supper, and we read Howl together, I read it aloud to everyone. A new era had begun.

Christina Koorman



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