Weaponizing Words: Political Vigilance and Letter Writing as Activism

None at Nowadays

Tue, Jun 27 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Epistles are letters written as poems, providing both a tactile sense of intimacy and accessibility, a play between internal and external dialogue. In addition to engaging the personal and historical context of Di Prima’s work, we will examine a short series of epistles by other poets.

Diane di Prima (b. 1934) is a poet, rebel, activist, feminist, Buddhist, anarchist, and seer who emerged from the Beat Movement. She influenced a generation of artists and writers as a publisher of mimeograph texts (alongside Amiri Baraka, co-founding The Floating Bear literary magazine) and as the founder of the New York Poets Theatre in 1960s Greenwich Village.

Too often relegated to a byline of the Beat Generation, referred to there as one of the “few female writers of the scene to make it,” Di Prima’s work has a passion and fire all its own, an embodied sense of the bio political as well as the anarchic.

Epistles are letters written as poems, providing both a tactile sense of intimacy and accessibility, a play between internal and external dialogue. In addition to engaging the personal and historical context of Di Prima’s work, we will examine a short series of epistles by other poets.

What is the relevance of such a form in the digital era? We are also in a time of political vigilance, when many are organizing letter-writing campaigns to Congress. How might we practice letter-writing as both art and activism?

Using “Revolutionary Letter #63” as a flash point, we will compose our own epistles. Packets of Di Prima’s poems, additional epistles, and blank postcards for our brief free-writing exercise will be provided. We will also have on hand the names and addresses of local elected officials and public servants, should we want to put our poetic activism to work.


Teacher: Jessica Rogers
Venue: Nowadays

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


Seeing the Subconscious: Mindfulness, Psychology, and the Road to Healing Racism

Location: at Online

Teacher: Darryl Aiken-Afam & Robin Schlenger

June 7, 2020, 7 p.m.

Regulating Business in a Capitalist Society

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lawrence Cappello

June 9, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

Escape From The City

Location: at Online

Teacher: Ted Barrow

June 10, 2020, 8 p.m.

Progressives, Radicals & Well-Meaning Liberals

Location: at Online

Teacher: Angie Beeman

June 11, 2020, 8 p.m.

Press Start to Begin: A Survey & History of Video Game Music

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

June 12, 2020, 8 p.m.

Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

Location: at Online

Teacher: Vishwa Adluri

June 14, 2020, noon

Socialism, A Day in the Life

Location: at Online

Teacher: Danny Katch

June 15, 2020, 8 p.m.

Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

Location: at Online

Teacher: Andres Bernal

June 19, 2020, 8 p.m.

Internet Omnipresence & Critical Thinking

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

June 22, 2020, 8 p.m.

New Toys and New Tyrants: Capitalism and the Rise of Platform Economics

Location: at Online

Teacher: Rob Larson

June 30, 2020, 8 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.