Loba is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the femimine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Now published for the first time in its completed form with new material, Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.

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Loba is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the femimine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Now published for the first time in its completed form with new material, Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Di Prima's feminist epic, here augmented and reissued, was compared to Allen Ginsberg's Howl by critics when it was first released in 1978. And Loba does resemble Howl--both books can be formless, vatic and breast-beating. But di Prima's lupine protagonist hasn't held up as well as Howl's liberatory speaker, often seeming less an empowering goddess than a vehicle for rainbow-colored mysticism and mythmaking. The older material, here "Book I," contains a great many Clan of the Cave Bear-style musings ("She came to hunt, but I did not/ stay to be hunted"). These are at their best, however, when juxtaposed with a gritty, wayward sensibility: "She sleeps on sheepskins in yr dining room/ shoots smack into her arm, murmurs soothingly/ of the glorious vegetable soup/ she will make, tomorrow."). Poems like "REEDGATHERS: The Loba North," "The Marriage at Cana" and "The Loba Prepares an Amulet for her Daughter" present dreamlike rituals that contain some lovely imagery, but allow for little more than impressionistic glimpses at the mysterious goings-on. The new poems of "Book II" draw more heavily and successfully on recognizable figures (Kali, Shiva, Hermes and the Buddha). Here, di Prima's invocations are spiked with etymological probings of received wisdom, as when examining the roots of ethics: "& ethos/ is not/ cannot be/ prima materia/ all "honor"/ is derivative." Such sentiments, "soft/ as russian vowels," show di Prima to be a pivotal figure for those who would rewrite the archetypes of the unconscious. (Aug.)
Library Journal
A prolific writer generally associated with the Beat Generation, Di Prima deserves wider recognition. This epic poem, originally published in 1978 as a work in progress (eight parts) in a nicely illustrated edition, appears here in its completed form (16 parts) for the first time. For Di Prima the Loba, or she-wolf, represents a fundamental feminine principle, a powerful force underlying female sexuality. With reference to legendary figures including Eve, Helen of Troy, the Virgin Mary, and Kali, she explores this mysterious energy as the source of a unique female consciousness. The strength of these poems lies in Di Prima's ability to "make it new"-to synthesize mythological elements from a wide range of cultures into a unique vision based on Navajo wolf mythology. This major poem is strongly recommended for all larger poetry collections and for academic libraries serving women's studies programs.--William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140587524
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1998
  • Series: Poets, Penguin Series
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 496,108
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Di Prima is the author of thirty-four books of poetry and prose, which have been translated into twenty languages. She lives in San Francisco, where she works as a writer and teacher.

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Table of Contents


Book 1

Part 1

"If he did not come apart . . . "
"Who will describe the triumph . . ."
"And if she bends . . ."
"Is she city? . . . "
"Signals. Does she stream . . . "
"See how her tit drags on the ground."
"See the young, black, naked . . . "
"see how old woman's tits . . ."
"Hush, the old-young woman"
"If you do not come apart . . ."
Sketches of The Loba
"How he drew her down . . . "
The Loba Dances

Part 2
"The day lay like a pearl . . ."
"where did it"
Three More Sketches of the Loba
"It is still news to her . . ."
"Can you, friend, say . . ."
"Sometimes she slips sinuous . . ."
"When she hoots it makes"
"she strides in blue jeans . . ."
"And will you hunt the Loba?"
Lobo In Childbed
The Loba Sings To Her Cub
"How Do The Gods Manifest . . ."
Love Song of the Loba
The Loba Continues to Sing

Part 3
Some Shapes of the Loba

Her power is to open what is shut . . .
"she is the wind . . ."
"she is the scrub oak . . ."
"she lay"
The Poet Prays to the Loba
Madness of the Loba
Death & the Loba
"Is he in bondage? . . ."
"Belili Ishtar . . . "
The Loba Old

Part 4
"I am a shadow . . ."
Childhood of the Loba
Some Lies About the Loba
Four Poets Speak of Her
A Painting of the Loba
The Loba Reveals Herself
Loba As Eve
i am thou & thou art i and where thou art i am
& in all things am i dispersed
& from wherever thou willst . . .
but in gathering me . . .

Part 5
"Helen on the wall"
Reedgatherers: The Loba North
Song Of The Dream-Wolves
Lilith: An Interlude
"She flies over partitions . . ."
"Whose mouth"
"Diamond, quartz, agate . . ."
"A handful of starchips thrown"
"The horned lady"
"Or is she soft"
"Or she takes yr shape . . ."
"Delicious the flesh she offers . . ."
"You roll, listing thru gummy sheets . . ."
"She sleeps on sheepskins . . ."
"all night long we"
"Oh Lil! You promised me secrets . . ."
"I'm biting at yr leash . . ."
"O taste the"
"crystal pyramid w/ diamond heart"
"She is not Helen . . ."
"Huntress. She in red sari"
Iseult On The Ship
Song Of Heloise

Part 6
The Seven Joys of the Virgin
Elizabeth & Mary
Flight Into Egypt
The Ruses: A Coyote Tale
The Poet, Seeking Her
The Marriage At Cana

Part 7
"This wolf is black . . ."
The Loba Recovers The Memory Of A Mare
My Lady, We Are Being Hunted
And She to Tristan
" O make Latona white . . ."
The Loba Addresses the Goddess
"In whose dream"
"Is it She in flame at heart"
The Loba, In May
The Critic Reviews Loba
The Loba Prepares An Amulet For Her Daughter
"But we can't"

Part 8
Loba, To Apollo
Hymn: The Other Face
Reprise for Cameron
"Light Made My Body To Live . . ."

Now Born in Uniqueness, Join the Common Quest
"and when we have won clear"
Lilith Of The Stars

Book II

Part 9

The Second Daughter: Li (Brightness)
Loba as Kore in the Labyrinth of Her Beauty
Beltain Note
Aula Lucis
"Endurance. What remains"
"And this is a clearing . . ."
Cougar Night Report
Tahuti Poems
"where he passes . . ."
"Tahuti. / Starfire . . ."
"Tahuti. / He-who-prefigures . . ."
"Tahuti. / Wielder of Image . . ."
"No lotus . . ."
"Tahuti, whose spells leap"
He Who Was Not Born from a Lotus
"Human fledgling"

Part 10
Sacred Geometry
"The bull"
She Who
The Loba Priestess As Bag Lady Utters Ragged Warnings

Deep Leap

Part 11
Another Part of Loba
"And Loba is Lovha . . ."
"Thus Love"
"From the wished universe"
"Stealth of thieves"
"thus there is"
"The sticky nature of"
"But in the longhouse"
"The body itself is the vector"
"To bring the whole from into silence"
What does it mean to rot?
A Note on the Above
"know the difference between . . ."
"the arms (branches"
of Loba
"the city . . ."
The Interloper
Loba: The Winds of Change

Part 12
"The Loba Compares the Earthly & Heavenly Mothers
The Mask Is the Path Of The Star
(Dream of Emily Dickinson As Immaterial Surf Breaking)

Part 13
"The Memory of far things"
"chance arrangement . . ."
"She has not left me . . ."
The Loba in Brooklyn
A Part Of The Thousand Ways To Say Goodbye
Hermetic Astronomy

Part 14
The Loba Longs For Remembrance In The Bardo
Eros / Animus

Her Dream
Inanna: The Epiphany
Theology Becomes the Body Politic

"Even w/ jewels on her eyes . . ."
Medusa Gazebo
The Loba in Flanders

"Is it"
Being In Love With Darkness
"Bears see only"
The Stars Shine For Us

Autour De

Part 15
"Because you love the burning grounds"
"You are the dancing youth . . ."
"My mother is mad . . ."
"Oh mind, you have lost the root"
"Make me mad, O Mother!"
"When will heart lotus bloom"
"O the unmatched beauty . . ."
"Mother Kali! Madwoman! . . ."
"Kali's greatness . . ."
"O Mother, put on a robe . . ."
"What woman dances on the battleground?"
"She is opposed to custom"
"Tara's name makes all prosperity vanish."
"I try to make an Image of illusion"
"She strides on the battlefield . . ."
"The Lady is fresh as jasmine"
"They call me drunkard . . ."
"I draw a circle about me"
"I was drawn to this world"
"The six systems of philosophy . . ."
"The days will pass . . ."

Part 16
Vision of the Hag, Devoured
Sabbat Revisited
Imago Mundi
Point of Ripening: Lughnasa
Report To Aphrodite (Evening)
The girl had brought the weather with her
Ariadne As Starmaker
Persephone: Reprise

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