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Dinners and Nightmares

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  196 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Dinners and Nightmares is a highly experimental collage of genres, including plays, conversations, interior monologues, free verse, and lists, a postmodern text long before that term become mainstreamed. It remains a powerful testament to the complications and triumphs of Beat bohemia for women.

Publisher Last Gasp proud to bring back this early Beat classic Diane di Prima
Paperback, 158 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Last Gasp,U.S. (first published March 2nd 1961)
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Community Reviews

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May 12, 2015 Brendan rated it really liked it
Rating: Soft 4, though I wonder if 3 1/2 might be more accurate.

From Robert Creeley's intro: She is beautifully warm, but her nature balks at false responses. She is true.

Hits and misses: a lot of misses, but in the boring, mediocre sense; not in the 'so horrible' sense. The down and out vibe is strong with this one. The need for more cash or fire wood, the presence of rats and roaches, etc. Slang is sprinkled throughout: fuzz, drag, pad, dig, cut, kicking off, a gas, etc. But it gives her writi
Alexandra Naughton
Jan 28, 2013 Alexandra Naughton rated it it was amazing
It's fun to look back on old poems and stories I wrote back in high-school and college, interesting to see how I've developed as a writer, comparing old work with what I'm doing now.

A lot of it reads very naive and sophomoric, but some of it really isn't that bad. A few pieces I read and was surprised by the creativity-- a travel brochure for joining a cult, something I had written while sitting in class, bored. What led me to write something like that?

I re-read recently Dinners and Nightmares,
Donald Armfield
Beatnik writing is hate it or love it. The off beat writing sometimes makes no sense and leaves you thinking. but Prima's work here is different.

The first section is about eating food. Where, When, with Who and what she ate. boring.
The second section is the nightmares which I thought was the best part of the book. As for the rest of the sections they kinda sit in with the the first section.

I will plan on reading more of her work. One of the few beatnik woman writers.
M.F. Soriano
Aug 12, 2010 M.F. Soriano rated it liked it
Very unbalanced. In the start it's pretty great--specifically the first four sections, with their exuberance and colloquialisms, but actually when you think about it it's very much like Kerouac and all his run-ons--then by the time it gets to 'Conversations' it gets monotonous, and by the end the reader is served up a dose of 'Some Early Prose' that was written while di Prima was in her late-teens/early-twenties and it sounds in the worst way exactly like something written by someone in their la ...more
Raven Rakia
Dec 27, 2012 Raven Rakia rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
I struggled whether or not to give this book a 3 or 4 rating. In real life, it's floating somewhere in between, a number with 3 decimal places that you can't put your finger on which perhaps is what effect all pieces of literature should have on you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I could tell while reading it that it's not diPrima's best work but she is definitely very talented and reading it was quite delightful (saying it was 'entertaining' makes it seem frivolous, which it was not). ...more
Oct 01, 2015 Greg rated it really liked it
Shelves: beat-poets
Very gritty collection of poems and prose from the most often-noted female Beat poet. DiPrima was definitely not blind to the sometimes banal reality of her existence--this is no joyous rampage through the Beat nightlife. She notes many a cheap dinner, lousy job, crummy pad, and loser boyfriend or roommate. Still, her dedication to her art is admirable and it's yet another fascinating look at the Bohemian New York City life of the late 40s and early 50s, from a helpful and enlightening female pe ...more
Jenn Storey
Feb 20, 2016 Jenn Storey rated it it was amazing
As a boundary-pusher, this prose/poetry collection was like coming home.
Jack Waters
Feb 07, 2013 Jack Waters rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I liked the book, but I prefer di Prima's poetry and prose over her memoir-type writing. I really liked the section on Nightmares as well as the one on Conversations. The Dinner section read to me the way Instagram pictures look to me.
Jun 13, 2008 Tracy rated it it was amazing
Her life in NY. The Nightmares are probably my favorite. Also, the conversations made me feel up close and personal with her. Would suggest to people who have lived in NY without tons of cash. : )
Jan 29, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
There was only one time ever it was cool to end a sentence with "but" (unless you live in Donegal) and it was done in this book.
Apr 19, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it
My favorite parts were the dinners, and the nightmares. Especially the "Onward Christian Roaches" nightmare.
Feb 13, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this, too. DiPrima has amazing heart.
Lily Tharp
Jun 26, 2008 Lily Tharp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous poetry (by a beatnik women!)
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Diane Di Prima is an American poet.
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