Archive | 8:58 AM

Book Review: Loba by Diane di Prima

4 Oct

I got through the last of the books my friends have lent me… for now.  I have a feeling that I’ll be getting a handful more very shortly.  So as of the moment, my bedside table pile has diminished.  For now.

Loba book cover, taken from

Loba book cover, taken from

Loba by Diane di Prima

di Prima’s representation of herself as the Loba (Spanish for she-wolf) is solidified in her book of poetry, Loba.  The book concentrates on what it means to be a strong female and how women are perceived.

I’m glad I read the author bio in the back of the book before I began reading the poetry.  It tells that di Prima took part in a psychedelic commune in New England for several years before moving to California where she raised her four children.  It’s worthy of note that di Prima was a large part of the beatnik movement and that this book was originally published in 1978.  Now you’re in the same frame of mind I was when I started reading.

Organized into multiple parts and books, di Prima starts out in her youth and discusses the youth and beauty of a young powerful woman.  From there, she moves into childbirth and motherhood, commenting on how it feels to have become a mother.  From there, she talks about relationships with men and how men will hurt a woman.  After that, I’m not exactly sure what happens.  I got lost after the first third of di Prima’s book and only picked up at the end that she was discussing being and independent woman who, like a wolf, can hunt alone.

This book didn’t really do a lot for me.  I’m not a big fan of poetry and I found this harder to follow than most.  There are poems that i can appreciate for their beautiful words and images, but I didn’t see a lot of that in Loba.

As far as a message that di Prima is trying to get across, I would say it’s about independent and strong women and how she herself is a good example of this.  I don’t know di Prima personally and cannot really comment on her independence and worthiness as a role model  but from her poetry, I’m not sure if I would agree.  She seems to think she’s better off alone, which I feel is a dangerous thing, especially for someone with small children.  While being able to be independent when needed is amenable, I think having friends and family close by at any point in life is a necessity.  I see a very distinct line between independent and loner.

From reviews I’ve read, it seems this book is the feminist response to Alan Ginsburg’s Howel and I haven’t read that book to confirm or deny.  Seeing as I haven’t read it, you can probably guess I’m not a Beatnik poetry type of person.  I’m attributing this to the main reason I was not a fan of this book.  I didn’t understand a lot of the poems nor see a theme or connection between them.  Based on this, I don’t think I’ll be reading any more beatnik literature.

Writer’s Takeaway: Oh boy, I’m not really sure for this one.  I guess it’s the same as what I wrote for Post Office, which is that even though it’s not for me, it’s for someone.  Not everyone will like everything that you write, but you have to find the ones that do because if they love it, you’ll be famous.  I guess my other one would be to use an end parenthesis.  (It really bothered me when di Prima didn’t.

Overall, not recommended by me.  It wasn’t my style at all.

One out of five stars.