received the National Poetry Association Lifetime Service Award and in 1994 the Aniello Lauri Award for creative writing.
Although she experiments with rhyme and standard meter in her early poetry, di Prima generally follows the free verse form that other Beat writers employed (see prosody and free verse). The subjects of her poetry vary from the role of the artist to issues of motherhood. In the first of "Three Laments" (1961), the speaker criticizes the rigidity she sees in the academic tradition as she considers wistfully that she might have become a well-known writer; unfortunately "the chairs / in the library / were too hard." And, in "Song for Baby-o, Unborn" (1961), the speaker vows that, although the world can be a harsh place, she will guide her child to see "enough to love / to break your heart / forever."
The Loba poems blend American Indian myth with characters from Greek, Hebrew, and ancient mythologies, such as Lilith and Persephone. Di Prima invents an archetypal wolf goddess ("Loba") as a model for women united by their cultural marginalization. Each woman is a part of every other; the speaker says, "I am you / and I must become you." The poems also position the Loba as a form of creativity that is both "feminine and maternal" (Friedman 207), one that can "chant / a new / creation myth." Like the Loba, di Prima offers a vision of power for women.
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