Beat Poet, Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti Dies at 101 – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The poet, publisher and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped start and sustain the Beat movement, has died. He was 101 years old.

Ferlinghetti died at his home in San Francisco on Monday, his son Lorenzo Ferlinghetti told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The cause was a lung disease.

His father died “in his own room” holding the hands of his son and his son’s girlfriend, “as he took his last breath, his son said.

Lorenzo Ferlinghetti said his father loved Italian food and the restaurants in the North Beach neighborhood, where he made his home and started his famous bookstore. He had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine last week and was a month before the age of 102.

Ferlinghetti was known for his City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, an important hangout for the beats and other bohemians in the 1950s and beyond.

The publisher has published books by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and many others. The most famous publication was Ginsberg’s hymn poem “Howl”. It led to an obscenity process in 1957 that broke new ground for freedom of expression.

Few poets in the past sixty years have been as well known or as influential. His books sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, a fantasy for virtually every colleague of his, and he ran one of the most famous and iconic bookstores in the world, City Lights.

Though he never considered himself one of the Beats, he was a patron and soulmate and a lasting symbol for many – he preached a nobler and more ecstatic American dream.

“Am I a generation consciousness or just an old fool listening in and trying to escape America’s dominant materialistic avarice?” he asked in “Little Boy,” a stream of awareness novel published around his 100th birthday.

Ferlinghetti defied history. The internet, supermarket chains, and high rents shut down numerous booksellers in the Bay Area and beyond, but City Lights remained a thriving political and cultural business, with a section devoted to books that enabled “revolutionary competency” in which employees could Day off were able to take part in an anti-war protest.

“In general, people seem to become more conservative with age, but in my case I’ve become more radical,” Ferlinghetti told Interview magazine in 2013. “Poetry must be able to cope with the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic. “

The business held out even during the coronavirus outbreak when it had to close and needed $ 300,000 to stay in business. A GoFundMe campaign quickly raised $ 400,000. Ferlinghetti, tall and bearded, with sharp blue eyes, could speak softly, in unfamiliar situations even introverted and reserved. But he was the most public poet and his work was not intended for solitary contemplation.

It should be recited or sung loudly, whether in coffee shops, bookstores, or at campus gatherings. His 1958 compilation, “A Coney Island of the Mind,” sold hundreds of thousands of times in the United States alone. Ferlinghetti has long been an outsider in the poetry community, once joking that he “committed the sin of too much lucidity”.

He called his style “wide open” and his work, partly influenced by ee Cummings, was often lyrical and childlike: “Peacocks walked / under the night trees / in the lost moon / light / when I went out / looked for love, He wrote in “Coney Island”.

Ferlinghetti was also a playwright, writer, translator and painter, and had many admirers among musicians. In 1976 he recited “The Lord’s Prayer” at the band’s farewell concert, immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz”. The folk-rock band Aztec Two-Step deleted their name from a line in the title poem of Ferlinghetti’s book “Coney Island”: “A couple of papal cats / do an Aztec two-step.”


Italie reported from New York.

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