A staunch supporter of “poetry as insurgent art”, he was also publisher and owner of the famous San Francisco City Lights bookstore

“The scene shows less tumbrils, but more citizens spaced in painted cars And they have weird license plates and engines that devour America” ​​Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a poet, painter, editor and a relentless political provocateur “And I’m waiting for Voznesensky to light up with us and talk about love tonight And I’m waiting for Aphrodite to grow living weapons at a final disarmament conference” He wrote ‘one of the most popular printed poetry books, was San Francisco’s inaugural Poet Laureate and won the National Book Award Perhaps most famous, Ferlinghetti became the spiritual godfather of the Beat movement when he opened City Lights Books on a gravelly San Francisco hill in 1953. “I had no idea of ​​a poetry scene here or anything like that. But then when you have a bookstore, it’s a place where poets naturally fall and meet” City Lights has become a breeding ground. essay for bohemian writers and artists and Beat Ferlinghetti quickly expanded its reach by launching City Lights Press, which published the Pocket Poets series The first book was his, “Pictures of the Gone World” “The dog trots freely down the street and sees reality, and the things he sees are bigger than him” The fourth was Allen Ginsberg’s explosive poem “Howl”, which would shock the civilized world “Allen Ginsberg put his manuscript of” Howl “on me one day I told him I would like to publish it, but we had no money Once I heard aloud, I realized it was going to cause a revolution in American poetry “” I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, hungry, hysterical, naked, crawling through the black streets at dawn looking for an angry solution “It was a bit like with the rock revolution that took place in the 60s When Allen Ginsberg’s” Howl “came along, you haven’t heard of long old academic poetry “Howl” has drawn Ferlinghetti into a historic First Amendment fight “No we were selling it at the City Lights bookstore, and two agents from the miners’ department bought a copy from Shigeyoshi Murao, who was my manager at the time. Shig was arrested and I was charged as the publisher and owner of the “Les charges?” Obscene “Willingly and Obscene” Publication of Obscene Writings “The Trial Went to Court We had a wonderful array of witnesses on our side, the most impressive literary figures in the West. When the judge rendered his ruling, he said that ‘a book cannot be considered obscene if it has any redemptive social significance or any social significance And this precedent, even if it was just in the city court, it held all these years It is still very difficult to convict someone of obscene literature these days “When the Times spoke with Mr. Ferlinghetti in 2007, he was 88 years old and still actively provokes “I’m waiting for the next revolution As a publisher, I always say it, you can’t publish a revolution when there isn’t one” Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in 1919 in Yonkers, just north of New York His mother was ill and his father died before he was born He was raised by an aunt who worked as a maid in the house of Presley Bisland, a Southern gentleman who sparked literary interest in the troubled boy “He looked a lot like Mark Twain He was very spiritual and very literate He made me recite poems at the table and I would have a silver dollar if I could recite the poem perfectly And I would start, ‘The Syrian came down like’ – ‘ No, no, young man, not like that’And then it would thunder dramatically Like I say I had an unhappy childhood, quote, no quote, so I escaped lyricism When life now gets too horrible it there is the lyrical escape You can write a lyrical poem, or you can go out and look at the moon Or you can fight with your best girlfriend or whatever It’s the lyrical escape ”Ferlinghetti studied journalism at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill After graduating in 1941, he joined the navy [explosions] On D-Day, Ferlinghetti commanded a ship that protected the invading fleet in Normandy “We were an anti-sub screen -marine around the beaches We have no e u to land And we could look through our binoculars and see those poor GjeSe gets shot on the beaches “After the carnage in France, Ferlinghetti was transferred to Japan, arriving shortly after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki” In the towering mushroom, Japan could read its fate It was more than a routine bombardment “” As soon as I saw the devastated landscape, this scorched and scorched landscape, where human flesh and cups of tea were fused, and bones, fingers and faces sticking out of the mud and not a building erected in sight ”“ Before the explosion they were modern buildings, built like our own American factories ”“ It made me an instant pacifist ” Ferlinghetti decided to forge one of his lyrical navy escapes and use the Gje Bill to graduate from Columbia University and the Sorbonne in Paris In 1951 he went west to San Francisco “I see San Francisco from my window through old bottles of Navy beer The glass is dark What is it? Right after WWII there are so many people who were uprooted, it was as if the whole continent had tilted upwards and the population had slipped west It’s still the last frontier I had an old used car and I was driving on Columbus Avenue And I looked across the street at Columbus and Broadway, and there was this guy holding up a “Pocket Book Shop” sign. said, are you opening a bookstore? ” Ferlinghetti decided to team up with this man, Peter Martin, to open a shop specializing in a new kind of inexpensive softcover book, the paperback. “Until then, the only paperback books you could get were murder mysteries and sci-fi So Peter Martin had this brilliant idea of ​​creating a pocket bookstore where you could find those books that you couldn’t find anywhere From the start we brought in poets and writers because there was nothing else like it If you walk into another bookstore in town you can’t just sit and read They Wanted – the clerk would be on top of you asking you what you wanted or could I help you We actually ignored the readers We ignored the clients You practically had to hit the clerk on the head to buy the book “Ferlinghetti went solo when Martin left town after a few years, and the shop has become the literary meeting place for Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, and the hero of his classic “On the Road”, Neal Cassady “Neal Cassady would rush He left his jalopy up front with the engine running and the door open He was rushing and getting a copy of – and rushing Of course, these are all free books that we gave to poets “” He’s already too late The Pentagon takes care of everything, and we do it deliberately, as far as it goes. “” The Pentagon? Tell me what – “” Well, I don’t know who runs the country do you? “” The bookstore from the start had this anarchist stance, which wasn’t a bomb-throwing stance It was a pacifist position “” Oh “[chanting]” I mean, I remember I was at the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in 1967 “[chanting]” Peace in San Francisco Peace in Hanoi “” And I was sitting next to Allen Ginsberg on stage, and at one point he turns to me and says, “What if we’re all wrong?” “[Chanting]” I wrote a poem called ‘Provisional Description of a Supper to Impeach President Eisenhower,’ and now I realize that Eisenhower, compared to the current leaders of the federal government – Eisenhower was an angel ‘” You know, don’t let go of all the things that the Beats and the hippies stood for Expansion of Consciousness is something completely new in Religious Consciousness poetry – they look to the Far East, for example The first articulation of an ecological conscience So much in our culture now, which we take for granted, came out of this rebellion, this rebellion of the young “In 2001, City Lights was inscribed on the list of historical monuments of San Francisco “Does poetry still matter today?” “Why did you put the word ‘still’ in there? Yeah, does poetry still matter today? It’s still – it’s a ‘still “All the disparate elements of the new civilization, the new culture of the 21st century are in this” still And one of these days the brew is going to merge into a wonderful, intoxicating new liquor ”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, publisher and political iconoclast who inspired and nurtured generations of San Francisco artists and writers from City Lights, his famous bookstore, died Monday at his San Francisco home He was 101 years old

The spiritual godfather of the Beat movement, M Ferlinghetti made his base in the modest independent book paradise now officially known as City Lights Booksellers & Publishers A self-proclaimed “literary hangout” founded in 1953 and situated on the border of the sometimes upscale and sometimes seedy neighborhood of North Beach , City Lights, on Columbus Avenue, quickly became as much a part of the San Francisco scene as the Golden Gate Bridge or Fisherman’s Wharf (The city’s Oversight Board designated it a historic landmark in 2001)

Although he is older and not a follower of his personal style, Mr. Ferlinghetti befriended, published, and championed several of The Beat’s great poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Michael McClure His connection to their work was illustrated – and cemented – in 1956 with his publication of Ginsberg’s most famous poem, the grunt and the groundbreaking “Howl,” an act that led to M Arrest of Ferlinghetti for “deliberate and obscene” impression of indecent writing “

In an important First Amendment decision he was acquitted and “Howl” became one of the best-known poems of the 20th century (The lawsuit was the centerpiece of the 2010 film “Howl”, in which James Franco played Ginsberg and Andrew Rogers played M Ferlinghetti)

Besides being a champion of the Beats, Mr. Ferlinghetti himself was a prolific writer of many talents and interests whose work eluded easy definition, blending disarming simplicity, lively humor and social conscience.

“Every great poem fulfills a desire and puts life back together,” he wrote in a “non-lecture” after receiving the Poetry Society of America’s 2003 Freeze Medal in One Poem, he added, “should arise in ecstasy somewhere between the words and the song”

Critics and fellow poets have never agreed that Mr. Ferlinghetti must be considered a Beat poet Himself did not think so

“In a way what I really did was take care of the store,” he told The Guardian in 2006 “When I arrived in San Francisco in 1951, I wore a beret If anything, I was the last of the bohemians rather than the first of the Beats “

Still, he shared Beats’ taste for political turmoil. Poems like “Provisional Description of a Dinner to Promote President Eisenhower’s Impeachment” established him as an unapologetic supporter of, as the headline reads. one of his books says it, “poetry as insurgent art”

He never lost his zeal for provocation “You’re supposed to become more conservative as you get older,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1977 “I seem to have just the opposite”

His most successful collection, “A Coney Island of the Mind” (1958), attracted attention when one of the poems was called blasphemous by New York Congressman Steven B Derounian, who called for investigation of a state college where it was taught, claiming the poem ridiculed the crucifixion of Christ The poem, “Sometimes in Eternity …”, begins:

Despite the controversy it sparked – or perhaps, at least in part, because of it – “A Coney Island of the Mind” caused a sensation It has become one of the books of American poetry most successful ever published It has been translated into several languages; according to City Lights, over a million copies have been printed

A life of provocateur would have been difficult to predict for Lawrence Monsanto Ferling, the youngest of five sons born in the placid outskirts of Yonkers, NOui, on March 24, 1919, following World War I. His father, a Italian immigrant who had built a small real estate business, had the last name shortened; as an adult, Lawrence would change him back

His parents had met on Coney Island – a reunion he then envisioned taking place in bumper cars – but the veneer of normalcy quickly deteriorated His father, Charles, died before the birth de Lawrence, and his mother, Clemence Mendes-Monsanto Ferling, was admitted to a public psychiatric hospital before the age of 2

Lawrence was taken in by a relative – he called her his Aunt Emily, even though the family bond was complicated – and she took him to Strasbourg, France, where he learned French, speaking it before do english When they returned to the United States, the difficulties also returned. He was briefly placed in an orphanage while Aunt Emily looked for work

A turning point came when she started working as a housekeeper for Presley and Anna Bisland, a well-to-do couple who lived in Bronxville, NO, and saw the promise in the boy

Left in their care, Lawrence blossomed According to “Ferlinghetti: The Artist in His Time,” a biography of Barry Silesky in 1990, he became a voracious reader, devouring the Bisland library classics and winner of the ‘money to memorize epic poems When he embarked on juvenile delinquency – he was arrested and charged with shoplifting around the time he created Eagle Scout – he was sent to Mount Hermon , a strict private high school for boys in Massachusetts

“I was getting too wild”, M Ferlinghetti recalled in a 2007 interview with the New York Times “Or starts”

This feeling of abandonment influenced his taste for literature. Among his favorite books was Thomas Wolfe’s coming-of-age novel “Look Homeward, Angel”; Mr Ferlinghetti applied to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he later said, because Wolfe had been there

He graduated from North Carolina with a degree in journalism – “I learned to write a decent sentence,” he said of the impact studying journalism had on his life. poetry – then served as a naval officer in WWII, spending much of the war on a submarine hunter in the North Atlantic

After the war he enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University, where he earned a master’s degree in English literature, writing his dissertation on art critic John Ruskin and artist JMW Turner , who nurtured a love for painting After Columbia, he went to Paris, the classic breeding ground of post-war bohemians, where he obtained a doctorate in comparative literature from the Sorbonne

Mr. Ferlinghetti went west in early 1951, landing in San Francisco with a sea bag and nothing else.After months in a low-rental apartment, he found North Beach, even as San Francisco was quickly becoming fashionable among intellectuals and a generation of young people for whom “establishment” was a dirty word.

He was surrounded by a politically and artistically charged circle, but he did not adhere to the Beat lifestyle. “I have never been on the road with them,” he said, stressing that ‘he led a “respectable married life” after marrying Selden Kirby-Smith in 1951 They had two children, Julie and Lorenzo; The marriage ended in divorce

Monsieur Ferlinghetti’s life changed in 1953, when he and Peter Martin opened the City Lights Pocket Book Shop, which originally contained only paperbacks at a time when the publishing industry was just starting to take this format seriously The store would soon become a sort of repository of books that other booksellers ignored and a sort of lounge for the authors who wrote them – a place “where you could find those books that you couldn’t find anywhere,” he said. declared, crediting M Martin with the concept Every man put in $ 500 and City Lights opened

“And as soon as we opened the door,” M Ferlinghetti later recalled, “we couldn’t shut it down”

In 1955, M Ferlinghetti, then sole owner of City Lights, began publishing poems, including his own. In his first collection, “Pictures of the Gone World,” his style – “both rhetorically functional and socially vital,” in the words by critic Larry R Smith – came out fully formed in stanzas like this:

A year later, his imprint City Lights published Ginsberg’s “Howl and Other Poems,” and soon after he was in court defending the poets’ free speech and helping to surrender – and the Beats he adopted – famous in the process

Over the years he has worked in other mediums including painting, fiction and theater; a program of three of his plays was produced in New York in 1970 But poetry has remained the art form closest to his heart

San Francisco also remained close to his heart, particularly North Beach, the traditionally Italian-American neighborhood where he lived most of his adult life. In his 1976 poem “The Old Italians Dying,” Mr. Ferlinghetti spoke about both the city he loved and the changes he had seen:

For Mr Ferlinghetti, age has brought honors In 1998, he was named the first San Francisco poet laureate; in 2005, the National Book Foundation cited his “tireless work on behalf of poets and the entire literary community for over 50 years”

Age hasn’t slowed him down; he continued to write and give interviews In 2019, Doubleday published Ferlinghetti’s Mr “Little Boy”, a book he had been working on for two decades, which he called closer to a memoir he would ever write : “An experimental novel” about “an imaginary self”

Its publication coincided with M 100th birthday of Ferlinghetti, which San Francisco Mayor London Breed proclaimed Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day A choir welcomed the writer under his apartment with “Happy Birthday” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, while in City Lights, poets like Robert Hass and Ishmael Reed read aloud M Works by Ferlinghetti

In the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, City Lights shut down and started an online fundraiser in which they announced they may not reopen The store received over 450,000 $ in four days Its chief executive, Elaine Katzenberger, told Publishers Weekly that the money gives City Lights the ability to plan for the future

Even at the end of his life, Mr. Ferlinghetti has always composed poetry – “In flash, nothing sustained,” he told The Times in 2018 The anthology “The Greatest Poems of Ferlinghetti,” published in 2017, included new work

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

World News – United States – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet who fed the rhythms, dies at 101

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/23/obituaries/lawrence-ferlinghetti-dead.html