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At the same time, the idea of returning to my father’s (also my “maiden”) name seemed regressive. Not bold enough to go all the way and call myself Nancy New York, or to pick a name that pleased me out of the phone book, I took my mother’s name, Miller. It was not lost on me that this was still to take a man’s—my grandfather’s—name or that I was taking the name of my worthiest adversary, my mother. Despite these contradictions, it seemed the perfect solution. ” I kept my father’s name Kipnis as my legal middle name and made the initial K part of my new signature.

My mother had dragged me to classes at the YMHA from an early age, and when I was fifteen I took a summer course at the Martha Graham studio. ” Di Prima could not make her spine curve (a physical problem identified only later in life) to perform the basic movement of the Graham body grammar:“contract and release” (). I was great at contract and release.  what do you think of my memoir? Martha Graham, exactly like the photographs, at one with her image, would stride into the class, looking like Medea.

My parents would have nodded knowingly at the evaluation of my emotional style by an English teacher at Hunter:“Excellent work. ” There was one place where dramatics were encouraged and made another kind of sense. Dance. To look like a dancer was to have the look. I knew I would never be a dancer; I knew I didn’t have the body or the talent; but I wasn’t terrible either, and I had the requisite intensity. My mother had dragged me to classes at the YMHA from an early age, and when I was fifteen I took a summer course at the Martha Graham studio.

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