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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

REVOLUTIONARY LETTER: 13, by         Recitation by Author     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Revolutionary Letter: 13" is a poem by Diane di Prima that was first published in 1969. The poem is part of a series of "Revolutionary Letters" that critique American society and explore issues of political and social justice.


The poem begins with a call to action, urging the reader to recognize their power and take up the struggle for political and social change. The poem focuses on the role of patriarchy and sexism in American society and the ways in which these systems perpetuate inequality and oppression, particularly for women.The poem is characterized by its sense of urgency and its call to resist these systems.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. The poem is structured as a series of short statements and images.
  • Imagery: The poem contains vivid visual imagery that evokes the experiences of the speaker and the injustices that they are critiquing. The poem also contains metaphorical and symbolic imagery that critiques American society and its values.
  • Repetition: The use of repetition throughout the poem emphasizes the urgency and passion of the speaker's message.
  • Theme: The poem explores the themes of political and social justice, oppression, and the importance of standing up against systems of inequality.


"Revolutionary Letter: 13" is a powerful and urgent poem that critiques American society and the ways in which it perpetuates systems of oppression and inequality, particularly with regard to the role of women. The poem's use of vivid imagery, repetition, and passion creates a sense of urgency and outrage, while its underlying themes of political and social justice underscore the importance of standing up against systems of inequality.

Poem Snippet:

"Listen sisters

listen brothers

the old world died last night

and the new world is born

this morning

and morning is inevitable”

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