Happy Birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

Happy Birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

Join us in wishing a warm and wonderful birthday to literary juggernaut Lawrence Ferlinghetti as he turns 100 this weekend! After serving in World War II, Ferlinghetti helped found City Lights, an independent San Francisco bookstore-publisher hybrid. Ferlinghetti went on to become an incredibly influential voice in poetry, publishing many of the most prominent poets in the Beat Generation and producing work of his own, too. Today, he not only remains the co-owner of City Lights but also continues to write; his most recent title, Little Boy, was released only three days ago. This weekend, celebrate by picking up some of Ferlinghetti’s poetry and sinking into the magic of the language. Don’t know where to start? We’ve included Booklist reviews of three Ferlinghetti collections below.

A Far Rockaway of the Heart

By beginning the first poem with the line, “Everything changes and nothing changes,” Ferlinghetti invites the reader to visit old haunts, seek new stomping grounds, and hang out in his poetic world long enough to notice all that is altered and all that has stayed the same.

Time of Useful Consciousness

At 93, venerable poet, publisher (City Lights), and activist Ferlinghetti presents a long, streaming poem tracking the great westward pursuit of dreams that has defined America. Continuing the saga he began in Americus, Book I (2004), he creates a panorama of restlessness, loneliness, and conflicting forces in a Whitmanesque catalog of landscapes and voices.

 Writing across the Landscape: Travel Journals, 1960–2010

Ferlinghetti is a consistently spirited and astute observer, spiking his vital, frank accounts with cultural, political, and personal insights both funny and stinging in language jazzy and lyrical. Soulfully open to the world and all its sorrows and wonders, Ferlinghetti affirms, in every line, the power of literature and art as essential navigational tools.

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