Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti

It is the birthday of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919), who founded City Lights Bookstore (the first U.S. all paperback bookstore) in San Francisco in 1953, published Allen Ginsberg's Howl, and befriended Jack Kerouac, with whom he bonded. Both were Thomas Wolfe fans, both went to Columbia University, both lived in France and both spoke French to their mothers. Ferlinghetti spearheaded the naming of the alley next to his bookstore Jack Kerouac Alley in 1988. He was a mentor of Beat poets and writers of the 1950s, including Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, William S. Burroughs, Michael McClure, Bob Kaufman, and Diane diPrima, though he always considered himself the last of the Bohemians instead of the first of the Beats. Here is a video posted last year about Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

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