Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights in 2007
Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights in 2007
BornLawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti
(1919-03-24)March 24, 1919
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 22, 2021(2021-02-22) (aged 101)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
OccupationPoet, activist, essayist, painter
Literary movementBeat, New American Poets, Postmodernism, IMMAGINE&POESIA

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (March 24, 1919[1] – February 22, 2021) was an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore. He was the author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and movie narration. Many of his works were inspired and about the city of San Francisco.

Plaque with L.Ferlinghetti's quote outside City Lights Bookstore

Poetry[change | change source]

Ferlinghetti’s poetry is based on lyric and narrative traditions. His themes are the beauty of nature, the tragicomic life of the common man, the situation of the individual in mass society, and the dream and betrayal of democracy.

Painting[change | change source]

Ferlinghetti began painting in Paris in 1948. In San Francisco he occupied a studio that he inherited from Hassel Smith. His first works show the influence the New York abstract expressionists. A more figurative style is apparent in his later works. Ferlinghetti’s paintings have been shown at various museums around the world.

60 years of painting, the exhibition held in Italy in 2010, is a creative journey through the twentieth century, reflecting on the role of the artist nowadays.[2]

Tribute to Ferlinghetti, painting by Gianpiero Actis

Death[change | change source]

Ferlinghetti died of lung disease on February 22, 2021 at his home in San Francisco at age 101.[3]

Awards[change | change source]

Ferlinghetti received the Premio Taormina in 1973. He also received the Premio Camaiore, the Premio Flaiano, the Premio Cavour, among other honors in Italy.

From 2009 he was on the Honour Committee of IMMAGINE&POESIA, the artistic literary movement founded in Turin, Italy, with the patronage of Aeronwy Thomas (Dylan Thomas's daughter).

Selected works[change | change source]

  • Pictures of the Gone World (City Lights, 1955) Poetry (enlarged, 1995) ISBN 9780872863033
  • A Coney Island of the Mind ([1] Archived 2011-09-30 at the Wayback Machine New Directions, 1958) Poetry
  • Her (New Directions, 1960) Prose
  • One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro (City Lights, 1961) Broadside poem
  • These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993 (New Directions, 1993) ISBN 0811212734
  • City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology (City Lights, 1995) ISBN 978-0-872863118
  • A Far Rockaway Of The Heart (New Directions, 1998) ISBN 0-8112-1347-1
  • How to Paint Sunlight: Lyrics Poems & Others, 1997-2000 (New Directions, 2001) ISBN 0-8112-1463-X
  • San Francisco Poems (City Lights Foundation, 2001) Poetry ISBN 9781931404013
  • Life Studies, Life Stories (City Lights, 2003) ISBN 9780872864214
  • Americus: Part I (New Directions, 2004)
  • A Coney Island of the Mind (Arion Press, 2005), with portraiture by R.B. Kitaj
  • Poetry as Insurgent Art (New Directions, 2007) Poetry
  • A Coney Island of the Mind: Special 50th Anniversary Edition with a CD of the author reading his work (New Directions, 2008)
  • 50 poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti 50 images by Armando Milani ([2] Rudiano, 2010) Poetry and Graphics ISBN 8889-04465-9

References[change | change source]

  1. "Academic.Brooklyn". Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s italianita. Retrieved October 30, 2006.
  2. Lawrence Ferlinghetti: 60 years of painting, edited by Giada Diano and Elisa Polimeni, Silvana Editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo (MI), 2009
  3. Brown, Emma (February 23, 2021). "Lawrence Ferlinghetti, literary citadel of San Francisco, dies at 101". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2021.