Part elegy, part memoir, lyrical and unforgettable, a previously unpublished masterpiece from one of America's most important authors.
"Written in the wake of her friend's suicide, Spring and Autumn Annals is a kind of epistolary diary: a chronicle driven by confusion, deliberation and grief. Like Christa Wolf's One Day a Year, Annals conveys the texture of time and the appearance of everyday objects in a disappeared world. The book is a treasure. Moving between the East Village, San Francisco, Topanga Canyon and Stinson Beach with young children, Di Prima's life is unbelievably rich. She studies Greek, writes, prepares dinners and feasts, and co-edits Floating Bear magazine. Diane di Prima is one of the greatest writers of her generation, and this book offers a window into its lives."––Chris Kraus
"Extolled by a writer who radically devoted herself to the experiential truth of beauty and intellect, in poverty and grace, in independent dignity, and in the community of Beat consciousness, Diane Di Prima's Spring and Autumn Annals arrives as a long-lost charm of illuminated meditations to love, life, death, eros and selflessness. An essential 1960s text of visionary rapaciousness."––Thurston Moore
In 1964, Diane di Prima was a young poet living in New York when her dear friend, dancer and Warhol Factory member Freddie Herko, leapt naked from the window of a Greenwich Village apartment to a sudden, dramatic, and tragic death. In her shock and grief, di Prima began to write what she thought of as a letter to Freddie, initiating a daily practice. Each afternoon for a year, she would light a stick of incense and type furiously until it burned itself out. The practice stopped on October 27, 1965, the first anniversary of Freddie's death.
As the days turn to seasons, Diane di Prima writes an eloquent ode to her friend, to their relationship, and to an entire constellation of the writers, artists, and revolutionaries who made up their community. Frank O'Hara, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure and other luminaries appear, as di Prima publishes her own work and produces that of others. With her husband Alan Marlowe, she cares for their 2-year-old daughter and runs the Poets Theatre and the Poets Press, while co-editing a literary journal with LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka). Lyrical, elegant, and nakedly honest, Spring and Autumn Annals is a moving tribute to a friendship, and to lives spent breaking the rules of "respectable" society in order to pursue personal and creative goals. Masterfully observed and passionately recorded, it offers a uniquely American portrait of an artist as a young woman in the heyday of bohemian New York City.