Memoirs of a Beatnik, Paperback Book

Memoirs of a Beatnik Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780714530758



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Kind of awesome. Absolutely LOADED with high-detail explicit polyeverything sex, but in a way that irks me a whole lot less than Henry Miller (because it's not ragingly sexist, funny that) or even Anais Nin (because it's not as oooh and aahhh about the whole thing). It's also (mostly, except for a couple of really awful incidents) really quite hot, and an interesting look at the whole having-sex-with-your-friends-in-the-bushes impulse that artsy types tend to get sometimes.Note that Di Prima wrote porn to get by in this period, and clearly some of that sensibility leaks through. Apparently for those works she'd get her friends to (fully-clothed) try out positions with her to see if they were even remotely feasible, and I do wonder how much this stuff got projected backwards.She's not naive about that issue--There is a hilarious part where she clearly tweaks the reader, describing an orgy for 3 pages under the title "What you wish had happened" before she cuts it off with "What actually happened", which is a bunch of people sharing an apartment and being cold and hungry and bored. In between all the squelchy noises and the moaning (which really is a large portion of the book, even finally throwing in an orgy with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and about 3 other people to seal the deal), is a really piercing look at the bums, runaways and, yes, 'bohemians' getting high, getting laid and trying to get by in New York on the Lower East Side right before this whole Beat thing broke open wide. A great look at the odd jobs, the drug habits, the crash pads, attempts to create a little bit of art, the slang, the creepy predators, and all the rest that was going on at the time. Di Prima is a really still- fresh voice, one I think was criminally underrated while everyone was busy worshiping every little "Pome" Kerouac ever dribbled out. One that manages to look past the macho self-aggrandizement of that movement and into its day-to-day life.

Also by Diane Di Prima