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Diane Wakoski Biography

(1937– ), Coins and Coffins, Discrepancies and Apparitions, The George Washington Poems, Inside the Blood Factory

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American poet, born in Whittier, California, educated at the University of California at Berkeley. Wakoski has taught at several universities. A prolific poet, her first publication was Coins and Coffins (1962). She established her reputation with Discrepancies and Apparitions (1966); later notable collections include The George Washington Poems (1967), Inside the Blood Factory (1968), The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems (1971), Virtuoso Literature for Two and Four Hands (1976), Waiting for the King of Spain (1977), and Cap of Darkness (1980). She continues to develop her long poem ‘Greed’, the first two parts of which appeared in 1968, and which has been published as The Collected Greed, Parts 1–13 (1984). Wakoski has written of herself as a didactic poet, whose subject is that unique body of knowledge—herself. She dissociates herself from the Confessional poets such as Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, and allies herself with the tradition of William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg, which, for all Williams's interest in modern aesthetics, has its origins in Whitman's poetry as ‘psalms of self’. Her poems are self-expressive rhapsodies, in celebration and in vehement repudiation of all that has sought to damage that unique self.

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