RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 – 2021)

A Coney Island of the Mind by you.

A Coney Island of the Mind (1958)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was an American poet and publisher, co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

Ferlinghetti was best known for his first collection of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind (1958) with sales of more than one million copies.

As the owner of the City Lights bookstore, Ferlinghetti was arrested for publishing Allen Ginsberg‘s Howl, which resulted in a lengthy First Amendment trial.

3 thoughts on “RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 – 2021)

  1. Norman Savage

    “A Coney Isand of the Mind,” was the first book I ever stole. “In Goya’s greatest scenes”… I was born and raised in Coney Island and one day, when cutting high school we went into Greenwich Village where I found “Howl” on a rack with other City Lights books and, on a shelf, nearby, “A Coney Island”… I was writing poetry by then, but when I found Ginsberg’s confessionalism it turned a corner for me. Later, when at The New School, also in Greenwich Village, Ginsberg became my mentor and friend. I was introduced to him through a terrific poet, Paul Blackburn, who read my stuff and saw the similarities; my degree from The New School was based on submitting a poetry manuscript. I met him in 1967 and we were pretty good friends up until his death. He me Carl Solomon, though, at Rockland State, not Bellevue.
    My memoir, JUNK SICK: CONFESSIONS OF AN UNCONTROLLED DIABETIC, published by Smashwords, contains a bit of Allen and others that you’ve probably read or listened to through the years. The old bohemia of Greenwich Village, where I still live, has unfortunately been lost. The Cedar Tavern where Allen and I met many times is now closed, one of the owners, a friend of mine for forty years, is dead, and other friends are scattered to the four corners. It’s heartening to have stumbled upon your blog and find that great shit is great no matter what generation it finds itself within.
    Norman Savage

  2. Norman Savage

    Thanks, man, for making the page for me. Stumbling over your blog jarred some memories for me–not that I need much help. But Larry and Allen, especially Allen have a place in my heart, my rhythm. I think it was Seymour Krim who came up with, “The Beat Generation,” for an article he did at the time and it stuck. And later, Steve Allen, a hipster in his own right, solidified that when he had Jack on his TV show reading from, “On the Road.” But Larry wanted to me a “bohemian,” fuck “beat” not enough history for him. He always imagined himself wearing a beret in Paris in the twenties, hanging out with Hem, Gertie, Scott, and the rest, maybe getting his photo taken on a beach with Pablo, maybe Miro. Shit, at that time, all you had to do was send a manuscript to some New York publisher postmarked from Paris and it was enough to get your shit read, if not published. Now, there’s just so fucking many of us. So much boring, predictable, pedantic, boring shit, that it’s become harder for any singular voice to break through. Not impossible, just harder. Larry though, was smart enough to recognize talent, radical talent at that time: Allen, of course, but O’Hara of “Lunch Poems” Corso, and this cat Bob Kaufman who wrote a couple of real live things: The Golden Sardine and “The Scum Manifesto” which kinda tried to outline what the writers of that time should be doing. A new Surrealist thing, or Dada. All kinds of shit jumped off from that San Francisco renaissance.
    I wish I were better at this internet thing, but I’m not. Always, foolishly sometimes, resisted the advances of civilization, not realizing how apropos and radical it could be. Much like those little presses and rags of the fifties and sixties, this might level out, somewhat, the playing field. When my memoir was supposed to be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux until the economy hit the skids, I looked for an alternative and found one, as I wrote the other day, on Smashwords. And now I’m trying to connect to others with a commonality of interests using the tool I used to publish, but it’s like anything else at first looked at, awkward because it’s new. Not a bad thing, only slow.
    I started a blog myself, JUNK SICK, and have decided, because I really didn’t know what the hell else to do, post my poetry, beginning in the sixties. I think you can get to it by going to either Norman Savage or JUNKSICK dot com.
    Curious to learn what you’re, and others, are doing these days.

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