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This fundraiser ended on 07/16/12

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Help Poet Laureate and feminist icon Diane Di Prima through a series of painful and life threatening operations.

Poet Laureate of San Franscisco and feminist revolutionary icon Diane Di Prima has inspired so many of us for over 50 years, whether we know it or not. She was one of the only women of the Beat Generation and was instrumental in shaping the way we view gender based politics. She was homies with Ezra Pound! She has published over 4 dozen books of poetry! She is the mother of 5 children!!

Diane is undergoing a series of painful and difficult surgeries, including having all her teeth removed. Without going into any more details, let's talk about what we can do for a woman who did so much for the advancement of women. If you or someone you know has been inspired by Diane personally or by her large body of work over the last 50 years, please donate anything you can to help her get through this intensely difficult time and the many operations that she is about to go through. Your donation will go towards rehabilitation and medical costs.

For more questions or information, please contact Amber Tamblyn at:


Information on Diane Di Prima:


Amber, I want to thank you and Michael McClure for making my situation known. And I especially want to thank all of you who have contributed to keeping me here on the planet. I want all you guys to know I am working HARD at getting and staying well. Aside from the dental stuff, I'll need glaucoma surgery, it seems. I'm also dealing with photosensitivity (caused by my reaction to a medicine) which makes it hard to be at the computer (my eyes tear). Right now, I can only work in my study at night. As some of you know, I was born with spinal stenosis and rheumatoid arthritis has made it worse. This also limits how long I can sit at the computer. Since so many of you have been kind enough to say that you've enjoyed my work over the years, I want to let you know I have a LOT of books in the pipeline: some ready for publication, others needing only a little tweaking. (There are 14 of those, all told). Then there are all the notebooks with handwritten poems not yet typed. Right now, what I need most is TIME: Time to rest, do the next steps for my health, go to doctor appointments. Time to work on books that are ready or almost ready—without having to stop doing that to teach or earn money. I need to write new stuff, too: poems, of course; Part 2 of my autobiography, etc. (I need to paint some, too, for my own sanity.) I hope to hire a friend to help part-time with typing, correspondence, filing. I KNOW I can get strong and active again: teach what I really want to pass on; do readings, maybe travel, if my back allows. Thank you again, everyone, who is helping to make these things happen—one step at a time.


Aside from the stenosis of the spinal column, which you all have heard about for years, and which in recent years as been exponentially worsened by arthritis, a lot of new stuff happened in 2011.

We got back from retreat in January 2011, as usual, but things never fell back into place. There was clearly something wrong with Shep—had been for months. Finally he got to a doctor in late March, who gave him a routine blood panel, and we got a call at 10:30 the same night for him to go to the ER—his hemoglobin was 4.3. (Should have been around 12 or 14). Followed at least three hospitalizations, over the month of April, and by the beginning of May he was doing dialysis three times a week.

[We have a series of updates on Shep’s condition over time, which I can send you.]

That January was the first Retreat when I didn’t even try to go up the hill to the lectures, just stayed in our room and rested, and did the study and practices there. Shep brought me the talks on a digital recording sticks when he could (with lama’s permission).

I didn’t get better when we got back, but I had to pull it together when Shep was in the hospital, best as I could. Pulled my knee on the night we first brought Shep to the hospital—still working on stabilizing it. Haven’t had long enough at a stretch to work on it with physical therapist, but I am gong to see the doc in charge of my knees and shoulders next week finally (YAY!)

When we got back from Retreat, I took the last of the arthritis injections [Humira] that had been helping me — enabled me to go on reading trip to Gloucester and New York City in the autumn of 2010— Apparently my immune system reacted to the medicine, and caused what they call a form of “pseudo-lupus”. The doc and pharmacist both said the reaction wd fade away in 2 weeks, but it’s been a year (last Humira shot was January 26, 2011) and I still feel hot, get red, sensitive to light, etc.

It was a GREAT trip—brought a lot of generations of people together in Gloucester (Olson’s 100th b-day) and in New York, where I stayed 10 days at Living Theatre pad, and had breakfast with my beloved friend Judith Malina every morning—wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Cdn’t have gotten on plane without the Humira, and a First Class ticket, in lieu of honorarium, and the various magick of folks in NYC, SF, Gloucester: poets, acupuncturists, etc, it wd never have happened.

BUT: that’s all the Humira was good for. And now this: heat, redness, inflammation, pain.

I also have glaucoma and that makes bright light hard and am taking five eye drops a day; the doc and I are looking at possible surgery to take down the pressure in the lens. Not the outpatient laser thing, but something that involved actually cutting into the cornea and putting in a grid. (Not a friendly idea but he seems to know his stuff—and it’s one of the few things that Medicare would be taking care of, if we have to do it.) Right now, what with the fact that the glaucoma drops accelerated the growth of cataracts, I keep needing new and different glasses.

I also seem to have some kind if allergic reaction to my computer(???) My nose stops up, I get hoarse. So between one thing and another I have these tiny windows of opportunity for answering emails, writing, doing whatever else one needs to do online

ARTHRITIS is bad this year (maybe extra cold nights).Right now I am taking a tapered dose of Prednisone
Which gives me two weeks to a month of relief
My knees have been especially cantankerous this past winter.
But so are my feet and hands and . . . .

Because of using the oxygen concentrator when I sleep for so many years,
I had a very dry mouth which generated extra cavities and infection
And have to et rid of all my teeth and get dentures.

I have had first of several oral surgeries: 5 molars out on Dec 16
I go back on January 30th to get the 8 molars & bicuspids on the left side
I am now living on ricotta and yogurt and milkshakes and ice cream
Several weeks after the other molars come out,
I go get measured for first dentures (very soft till I’m healed)
Then I get my front teeth pulled and soft dentures put in
Then in 6 months or so I can have permanent dentures
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