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The Art of Life, the Dance of Poetry: Gender, Experiment and Experience in Mina Loy and Diane di Prima

Isabel Castelao-Gomez


Mina Loy and Diane di Prima’s experimental poetic contributions to their early “situational avant-gardes” (the 1910s Modernists and late 1950s Beats in New York) vindicated the relation of gender and experiment within their countercultural movements, redefining these groups’ poetic and ideological tenets. Firstly, I will connect and contextualize these two poets as part of American feminist avant-garde tradition. Then, I will study their early poetry’s specificities and their common particularity: a gendered approach to the interconnectivity between experiment and experience. The article develops the idea that Loy and di Prima’s “motional” poetics of alternate forces of expression and linguistic experimentation is a dynamic materialization of the ambivalence involved in their bodily and spatial experiences of inclusion and exclusion as bohemian women poets in their urban environment and their artistic communities. The last section theorizes the way these embodied positionalities, and the continuum formed by environment, space, body and language, interrelate with Loy and di Prima’s feminist motional avant-garde poetics based on material feminist philosophies and postmodern and experimental literary critics’ views.


Mina Loy; Diane di Prima; American women’s poetry; feminist avant-garde poetics

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Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies

ISSN: 1137-6368