The Representation of Female Identity and Sexuality in Diane Di Prima's Poem Loba as a Significant Contribution to the Beat Literary Movement

Reyes, Meagan
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The Beat Generation was a literary movement which peaked during the 1940’s. Many writers within the movement have enjoyed fame and credibility within the literary world as innovative writers and poets. What is little known is that many women were active in the movement by writing novels, memoirs, and poetry. One writer is Diane di Prima who not only participated in “Beat” methods of writing but was successful in many other literary endeavors as well. Her poem Loba, published in 1978, demonstrates the unique methods of Beat writing while offering a feminist perspective never touched on by the Beat men. The representation of feminine identity and sexuality in Diane di Prima’s poem, Loba, is a significant contribution to the Beat literary movement. Drawing inspiration from indigenous and European literature and mythology, di Prima creates a mystical poem specific to feminist ideology. Analyzing book one, parts one through eight, this project aims to identify the representation of the loba as a method of expressing feminine identity and unleashing repressed female sexuality. A major aspect of this project is also identifying the indigenous and European mythology of women in the poem as crucial to revealing di Prima’s feminist perspective. The end goal of this project is to create recognition of Diane di Prima and other female beat writers as significant literary contributors to the movement.
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