Diane di Prima was born on August 6, 1934 in Brooklyn and passed on in San Francisco on October 25, 2020. Di Prima was a true national treasure, having chronicled throughout her astonishing career a momentous period of American history. Although for over six decades an indomitable force in ourcultural life, Di Prima remains unfamiliar to many readers. Because she was the major female identified with the Beat movement and author of the hip-language-inflected book This Bird Flies Backward (1958) who lounged in slacks sitting atop a piano—as a famous photograph from the fifties depicted her during a poetry reading— and due to the appearance a decade later of Memoirs of a Beatnik (1968), she has been misperceived as a “Beat chick.”
A powerful use of language is to tell people our story, especially to tell our loved ones about ourselves. They will hopefully reply using the language of acceptance and understanding. Conversely, a person can conceal their own story through language, or have their declarations met with words of hate and violence. This is when language has an even more important role to play in illuminating the path to equality; as Jeanette Winterson says, we need a language “capable of expressing all that it is called upon to express in a vastly changing world.”
We all know that the world we live in (in all our intersectional diversity) is beset by a cluster of interrelated crises that are cascading toward even greater destruction, threatening the life of the planet itself. In these dark times, radical action is needed more than ever so that we can face these crises and build a better world for all humans, all nonhumans, and nature itself.
Guest post by Mikhail Epstein My book, The Phoenix of Philosophy, is about philosophy at one of its most dramatic historical moments, at the boundary of two epochs: the formation of the ideocratic Soviet state—and its destruction. What is philosophy? There is no simple and universal definition, and many thinkers consider it impossible to formulate one. According to A. N. Whitehead, “the safest… Read More »
Guest post by Mark Steven Karl Marx was born in Prussia 203 years ago today and his writing and thinking are as crucial now, during the year of a global pandemic, as ever before. In a frequently quoted sentence written in the spring of 1845, Marx issued what reads as a statement of intent. “The philosophers,” he claimed, “have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is… Read More »
Guest post by Mikko Tuhkanen A dual orientation in Leo Bersani’s thought never fails to make me tremble, for in it I think I recognize something indisputably true. On the one hand, Bersani repeatedly attends to the unavoidability of aggression in our encounters with the world: we are inhabited, he suggests,by an “intractable,” because constitutive, hatred of otherness. On the other, all such murderous impulses are supplemented by the logic of what Bersani, echoing Charles Baudelaire, calls “correspondence of… Read More »
Guest post by Michelle E. Moore The exceptionally prolific writer Willa Cather was born on December 7, 1873 in Gore, Virginia. Her literary work blends fiction with documentary while spanning vast distances across geographies, relationships, and time. Her personal papers document a lifetime of relationships kept afloat by near constant letter writing, sometimes conducted as she traveled long distances by rail to visit friends and… Read More »
Guest post by Nate Mickelson Born October 12, 1944, the poet and activist Lewis MacAdams passed away in Los Angeles in April 2020 after a long illness. He was a champion of everyday people and an advocate for forging connections between the built and natural environments of the city. MacAdams served for thirty years as the director of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), a community organization he… Read More »