Archives for posts with tag: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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I AM WAITING (Excerpt)
Poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder.

Photo: Holly Northrop, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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FERLINGHETTI: A Rebirth of Wonder

A Film by Christopher Felver

SILVER BIRCH PRESS REVIEW (****)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti fans as well as people who’ve never heard of this iconic author, painter, publisher, and activist will enjoy Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder – a documentary film by Christopher Felver released in June 2013 — thanks to the movie’s “Wow! Did that really happen?” factor.

You might call Ferlinghetti “fate’s chosen son” – judging by the incredible coincidences and strokes of luck that came his way. Granted, Ferlinghetti knew how to seize the moment – as in 1953 when he stopped at the just-opened Pocket Book Shop (the first all-paperback bookstore in the U.S.) at 261 Columbus Avenue in San Francisco and made a deal on the spot to go into business with the owner (Peter D. Martin), who also published a small literary magazine called City Lights. The renamed City Lights Bookstore – a nod to Charlie Chaplin and his character “The Tramp,” who fought the system in the 1931 movie City Lights – became a magnet for artists and writers and reinvented the bookstore as cultural epicenter, meeting place, and hangout.

A few years later, in 1955, Ferlinghetti was again in the right place at the right time when he attended Allen Ginsberg’s first reading of “Howl” at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. The next day, Ferlinghetti – by this time a publisher – sent Ginsberg a telegram offering to publish the poem (“I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?”).

The decision to publish “Howl” led to a 1957 obscenity trial where Ferlinghetti and co-defendant Shig Murao, City Lights manager, risked prison to defend First Amendment rights. When the presiding judge ruled that “Howl” was not obscene, a new chapter in American Arts & Letters opened – ushering in the publication of now-classic novels by William S. Burroughs, Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, and many other avant garde writers.

What I appreciated most about Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder was the personal side of Ferlinghetti’s story – again, with fate playing a starring role. In a range of interviews, Ferlinghetti shares aspects of his childhood, noting that much of his story is “out of Dickens.” Yes, this is Dickens in overdrive – and I don’t want to give away too much, because here the “Wow! Did that really happen?” factor is in full bloom. From his birth on March 24, 1919 through his WWII service in the U.S. Navy, Ferlinghetti leads a life that is alternately heartbreaking, charmed, blessed, harrowing, and sublime.

Still going strong at age 94 – on May 30, 2013 an exhibit of his paintings opened in San Francisco – Ferlinghetti shows us what it means to “live a life well lived.”

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder is a loving portrait of the artist as both a young and old man – a celebration of an American icon who personifies what it means, and what it takes, to have the courage of your convictions and put it all on the line for your beliefs and your art. Today, everyone in the arts owes Lawrence Ferlinghetti a debt of gratitude – and watching this wonderful documentary is a place to start.

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder is available on DVD atAmazon.com.

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“Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations.”

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

Photo: “Shadow of Street Lamp on Wall in Prague, Czech Republic” by Casey Mahaney — prints available at galerie-creation.com.

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“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.”

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTIAmericus, Book I

Painting: “Under the Mirabeau Bridge” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti — a painting that features lines from a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919) earned an M.A. at Columbia University and a doctorate in literature at the University of Paris, Sorbonne. In the U.S., his paintings have been exhibited at The Butler Institute of American Art, The Whitney Museum in New York, and at the San Jose Museum of Art. His artwork is in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. (Learn more about the painting and artist at georgekrevskygallery.com.)

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THE CHANGING LIGHT (Excerpt)
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The changing light
at San Francisco
is none of your East Coast light
none of your
pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light
And the light of fog
blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate
to lie on the city at dawn…

Photo: TheBrockenInAGlory

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SEASCAPE WITH SUN AND EAGLE
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Freer
than most birds
an eagle flies up
over San Francisco
freer than most places
soars high up
floats and glides high up
in the still
open spaces

flown from the mountains
floated down
far over ocean
where the sunset has begun
a mirror of itself

He sails high over
turning and turning
where seaplanes might turn
where warplanes might burn

He wheels about burning
in the red sun
climbs and glides
and doubles back upon himself
now over ocean
now over land
high over pinwheels suck in sand
where a rollercoaster used to stand

soaring eagle setting sun
All that is left of our wilderness.

Photo: “San Francisco Sunset” by Howard Russell, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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I AM WAITING (Excerpt)
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting 
to get some intimations 
of immortality 
by recollecting my early childhood 
and I am waiting 
for the green mornings to come again 
youth’s dumb green fields come back again 
and I am waiting 
for some strains of unpremeditated art 
to shake my typewriter 
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture 
and I am perpetually waiting 
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn 
to catch each other up at last 
and embrace
and I am waiting 
perpetually and forever 
a renaissance of wonder 

“I Am Waiting” appears in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 1958 collection A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND. According to Wikipedia, “There are approximately a million copies in print of A Coney Island of the Mind, and the book has been translated into over a dozen languages. It remains one of the best-selling and most popular books of poetry ever published.”

Find A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND at Amazon.com.

For a real treat, watch The Lawrence (Kansas) University Jazz Poetry Quartet (TImothy X. Troy,  Mark Urness, Brian Pertl, and Dane Richeson) perform “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti atyoutube.com.

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THE CANTICLE OF JACK KEROUAC (Excerpt)
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

There is a garden in the memory of America

There is a nightbird in its memory

There is an andante cantabile

in a garden in the memory   

of America

In a secret garden

in a private place

a song a melody

a nightsong echoing

in the memory of America   

In the sound of a nightbird   

outside a Lowell window

In the cry of kids

in tenement yards at night

In the deep sound

of a woman murmuring

a woman singing broken melody

in a shuttered room

in an old wood house

in Lowell

As the world cracks by

                                 thundering

like a lost lumber truck

                                    on a steep grade   

               in Kerouac America

The woman sits silent now

                                     rocking backward   

      to Whistler’s Mother in Lowell

                         and all the tough old

                                          Canuck mothers   

                              and Jack’s Mémère

And they continue rocking

 

      And may still on stormy nights show through   

          as a phantom after-image

                            on silent TV screens   

             a flickered after-image

                              that will not go away   

                in Moody Street

                  in Beaulieu Street

                   in ‘dirtstreet Sarah Avenue’   

    in Pawtucketville

       And in the Church of St. Jean Baptiste

…read “The Canticle of Jack Kerouac” in its entirety at poetryfoundation.org.

About the author: Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919) earned an M.A. at Columbia University and a doctorate in literature at the University of Paris, Sorbonne. Ferlinghetti co-founded San Francisco’s City Lights Booksellers & Publishing — most famous as the original publisher of Allen Ginsberg‘s poem Howl. In 1956, Ferlinghetti was arrested on obscenity charges for publishing Howl; after a lengthy trial, he was acquitted the following year in a landmark First Amendment case.

Photo: Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1959).

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FORTUNE HAS ITS COOKIES TO GIVE OUT
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Fortune

                   has its cookies to give out

which is a good thing

                    since its been a long time since

         that summer in Brooklyn

     when they closed off the street

             one hot day

                and the
                     FIREMEN

                         turned on their hoses

    and all the kids ran out in it

     in the middle of the street

      and there were

                maybe a couple dozen of us

                                   out there

with the water squirting up

                      to the

                         sky

                               and all over

                                         us

     there was maybe only six of us

                           kids altogether

               running around in our

                         barefeet and birthday

          suits

                 and I remember Molly but then

           the firemen stopped squirting their hoses

                 all of a sudden and went

                      back in

               their firehouse

                        and

          started playing pinochle again

               just as if nothing

                    had ever

                          happened

     while I remember Molly
                      looked at me and

          ran in

     because I guess really we were the only ones there

Photo: “Summer, Lower East Side, Manhattan, 1937” (detail) by Arthur Fellig, AKA Weegee.

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FERLINGHETTI: A Rebirth of Wonder

A Film by Christopher Felver

SILVER BIRCH PRESS REVIEW (****)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti fans as well as people who’ve never heard of this iconic author, painter, publisher, and activist will enjoy Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder — a documentary film by Christopher Felver released in June 2013 — thanks to the movie’s “Wow! Did that really happen?” factor.

You might call Ferlinghetti “fate’s chosen son” – judging by the incredible coincidences and strokes of luck that came his way. Granted, Ferlinghetti knew how to seize the moment – as in 1953 when he stopped at the just-opened Pocket Book Shop (the first all-paperback bookstore in the U.S.) at 261 Columbus Avenue in San Francisco and made a deal on the spot to go into business with the owner (Peter D. Martin), who also published a small literary magazine called City Lights. The renamed City Lights Bookstore – a nod to Charlie Chaplin and his character “The Tramp,” who fought the system in the 1931 movie City Lights – became a magnet for artists and writers and reinvented the bookstore as cultural epicenter, meeting place, and hangout.

A few years later, in 1955, Ferlinghetti was again in the right place at the right time when he attended Allen Ginsberg’s first reading of “Howl” at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. The next day, Ferlinghetti – by this time a publisher – sent Ginsberg a telegram offering to publish the poem (“I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?”).

The decision to publish “Howl” led to a 1957 obscenity trial where Ferlinghetti and co-defendant Shig Murao, City Lights manager, risked prison to defend First Amendment rights. When the presiding judge ruled that “Howl” was not obscene, a new chapter in American Arts & Letters opened – ushering in the publication of now-classic novels by William S. Burroughs, Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, and many other avant garde writers.

What I appreciated most about Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder was the personal side of Ferlinghetti’s story – again, with fate playing a starring role. In a range of interviews, Ferlinghetti shares aspects of his childhood, noting that much of his story is “out of Dickens.” Yes, this is Dickens in overdrive – and I don’t want to give away too much, because here the “Wow! Did that really happen?” factor is in full bloom. From his birth on March 24, 1919 through his WWII service in the U.S. Navy, Ferlinghetti leads a life that is alternately heartbreaking, charmed, blessed, harrowing, and sublime.

Still going strong at age 94 – on May 30, 2013 an exhibit of his paintings opened in San Francisco – Ferlinghetti shows us what it means to “live a life well lived.”

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder is a loving portrait of the artist as both a young and old man – a celebration of an American icon who personifies what it means, and what it takes, to have the courage of your convictions and put it all on the line for your beliefs and your art. Today, everyone in the arts owes Lawrence Ferlinghetti a debt of gratitude – and watching this wonderful documentary is a place to start.

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder is available on DVD at Amazon.com.