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Unread 02-24-2021, 09:36 AM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,678
Default Ferlinghetti

Son of immigrant gets busted for “indecent” publishing, beats rap, becomes landmark figure in history of American poetry. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, dead at 101.

I first heard about A Coney Island of the Mind from a junior high English teacher who figured we were mature enough to handle "Christ Climbed Down." Here's to the teachers who turn us on to the poets who turn us on.
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Unread 02-24-2021, 11:24 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,805

Thanks for the link, Chris. I recalled what Dana Gioia wrote when criticized for not mentioning Ferlinghetti in his essay on Italian-American poets. Current reports I've seen seem to run counter to his version:

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born Lawrence Ferling in Yonkers, New York, in 1919. His father, Charles Ferling, was reportedly an assimiBANNED POSTlated Italian immigrant, who died before his son was born. His mother, Clemence Mendes-Monsanto, a French-Sephardic Jew, was institutionBANNED POSTalized soon after his birth. The young Lawrence Ferling was raised iniBANNED POSTtially in France by his maternal aunt. His first language was French. Returning to New York in 1924, the poet was—after seven months in an orphanage—informally adopted by an older, wealthy WASP couple in Bronxville, New York. He was educated mainly in exclusive private schools and eventually studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Columbia before returning to France in 1947. He never knew his Italian family. Lawrence Ferling, did, however, Italianize his name in 1955 for the publication of his first book to symbolize his rebirth as a poet. Presumably he also wanted to reconnect with his unBANNED POSTknown family’s heritage. While “Ferlinghetti” has become the most famous Italian surname in American poetry, its owner has no meaningBANNED POSTful connection with the Italian-American immigrant experience. His rich cultural background is French, Sephardic, and patrician American.

Last edited by RCL; 02-24-2021 at 01:11 PM.
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Unread 02-24-2021, 12:47 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,952

"The World is a Beautiful Place" read by Ferlinghetti with jazz accompaniment
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Unread 02-24-2021, 01:04 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,805

Nice, Matt.

I've always liked this one:

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of day
performing entrechats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be

For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap

And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence

Last edited by RCL; 02-24-2021 at 01:08 PM.
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