Ferlinghetti, Lawrence

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American poet, editor, and publisher, was born in March of 1919 in Yonkers, N.Y., the son of Charles S. and Clemence Ferling. From 1920 to 1924, he lived in France with his aunt, and after their return to the U.S., was educated in New York, at the Riverside Country School (1927-28) and Bronxville Public School (1929-33). Ferlinghetti attended high school at Mount Hermon School in Greenfield, Mass. (1933-37), then received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1941, his M.A. in Literature from Columbia University in 1948, and his Doctorat de l'Université from The Sorbonne, Paris in 1949. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1945, and attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Ferlinghetti married Selden Kirby-Smith in 1951, and has two children, Julie and Lorenzo.

Ferlinghetti moved to San Francisco in the early 1950s, and in 1953, after a short period as a French literature teacher, he founded City Lights Books with Peter L. Martin. In 1955, City Lights Publishing initiated the Pocket Poets Series with a collection of Ferlinghetti's own poems, Pictures of the Gone World. This was followed by publication of works by Kenneth Patchen, Kenneth Rexroth, and in 1957, Allen Ginsberg's Howl. City Lights' distribution of this controversial work provoked an obscenity trial which attracted international attention. In his struggle against censorship, Ferlinghetti became a public figure representing the San Francisco literary renaissance and the Beat Poet's movement.

Throughout his career Ferlinghetti has championed the avant-garde, opting for social engagement and literary experimentation in both his own work and that of the authors he publishes. His own poetry reflects the raw, uninhibited style common to the Beat generation. Ferlinghetti's best-known volume is A Coney Island of the Mind (New Directions, 1958); other poetry collections include Starting from San Francisco (1961), The Secret Meaning of Things (1969), Open Eye, Open Heart (1973), Landscapes of Living and Dying (1979), Endless life: The Selected Poems (1981), Over all the Obscene Boundaries (1984), and These are My Rivers (1995).

Ferlinghetti is also the author of two novels, Her (1960) and Love in the Days of Rage (1988), as well as two collections of experimental theater pieces. His interest in oral poetry has made him a favorite of audiences world-wide; several examples of his public readings and jazz/poetry collaborations are available commercially. A lifelong interest in painting in recent years has led to gallery showings of his works and the publication of a collection of drawings, Leaves of Life: Fifty Drawings from the Model (1984). In 1988, Ferlinghetti, in collaboration with Nancy J. Peters, published Literary San Francisco: A Pictorial History from the Beginning to the Present.

In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, biographer Larry Smith sums up Ferlinghetti's achievements: "as a poet and publisher, as a catalyst for cultural and literary innovation for several generations, [Ferlinghetti] is one of the key forces of contemporary writing. He extends the significance of the Beat perspective by the engaged stance of his life and work and by the powerful and popular art he has wrought."

From the guide to the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Papers, 1919-2003, (The Bancroft Library)

Born March 24, 1919 in Yonkers, N.Y., poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti had a very unstable childhood. His immigrant father died when Lawrence was two years old, and his mothers chronic bad health forced her to abandon him at age six. He was adopted by his mothers uncle and his wife, Ludovic and Emily Monsanto. Emily separated from Ludovic, taking Ferlinghetti with her to her family in Alsace, Strasbourg, Germany. There he learned French before he could speak English, and was educated in the classics and literature. When the Monsantos divorced, Emily returned to New York for monetary reasons, becoming a housekeeper for a family called Bislands. Eventually Emily quit her employment and deserted Ferlinghetti, leaving the Bislands to raise him. The Bislands sent him to private school and later, using the name Larry Farling, he attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he received a B.A. in Creative Writing in 1941. He enlisted in the Navy during WWII, was promoted to Lt. Commander, and took part in the D-Day invasion. He was at Nagasaki after the United States dropped the atomic bomb. Participating in war and seeing the aftermath of the bombing sharpened his political viewpoint. Taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, he received an M.A. at Columbia University in 1948, then went to Paris, France where he obtained his Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Sorbonne, University of Paris. In Paris he met other beat generation writers such as Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac and, Allen Ginsberg.

Ferlinghetti was in tune to the political climate of the times and he became a central figure in the San Francisco area artistic community. He lived in Oakland, California and opened the City of Lights Pocket Bookshop in 1953, selling magazines and newspapers with a political emphasis. He participated in the printing of Beatitude, a political magazine, and wrote novels and books of poetry including Coney Island of the Mind , published in 1958, Starting From San Francisco , 1961, and Her , 1965.

From the guide to the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Manuscript, 1962, (The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for Southwest Research)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born on 24 March 1919, in Yonkers, NY, the youngest of five sons of Charles S. (an auctioneer) and Clemence (Mendes Monsanto). His father, an Italian immigrant, had shortened the family name upon arrival in America . Lawrence restored the family name in 1954. He attended the University of North Carolina (A.B., 1941), Columbia University (M.A., 1947) and Sorbonne, University of Paris (Doctorat de l'Universite with honors, 1949). He served with the U.S. Naval Reserve (1941-45) rising to lieutenant commander and was a commanding officer during the Normandy invasion. Known for his novels, short stories, plays, screenplays and poetry, Ferlinghetti has been awarded the National Book Award nomination (1970, for The Secret Meaning of Things), Notable Book of 1979 citation (Library Journal, 1980, for Landscapes of Living & Dying), Silver Medal for poetry (Commonwealth Club of California, 1986, for Over All the Obscene Boundaries), poetry prize, (City of Rome, 1993), San Francisco> street named in his honor (1994) and named first Poet Laureate of San Francisco (1998).

Throughout his career he has been a poet, playwright, editor, and painter; worked for Time, New York City, post-World War II; taught French in a adult education program, San Francisco, CA, 1951-52; City Lights Pocket Bookshop (now City Lights Books ), San Francisco, co-owner, 1953—, founder and editor of City Lights Books (publisher), 1955—. He has participated in numerous national and international literary conferences, art exhibitions, and poetry readings.

Published Works: Writings by the Author (Translator) Jacques Prevert , Selections from Paroles , City Lights , 1958 . Her (novel), New Directions , 1960 . edited by J. W. Ehrlich Howl of the Censor (trial proceedings) , Nourse Publishing , 1961 . (With Jack Spicer ) Dear Ferlinghetti , White Rabbit Press , 1962 . The Mexican Night: Travel Journal , New Directions , 1970 . A World Awash with Fascism and Fear , Cranium Press , 1971 . A Political Pamphlet , Anarchist Resistance Press , 1976 . Northwest Ecolog , City Lights , 1978 . (With Nancy J. Peters ) Literary San Francisco: A Pictorial History from the Beginning to the Present , Harper , 1980 . The Populist Manifestos (includes “First Populist Manifesto”), Grey Fox Press , 1983 . Seven Days in Nicaragua Libre City Lights ,(journal) 1985 . Leaves of Life: Fifty Drawings from the Model , City Lights , 1985 . (Translator with others) Nicanor Parra, Antipoems: New & Selected , New Directions , 1985 . (Translator with Francesca Valente ) Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roman Poems , City Lights , 1986 . Love in the Days of Rage (novel) Dutton , 1988 . (With Alexis Lykiard ) The Cool Eye: Lawrence Ferlinghetti Talks to Alexis Lykiard , Stride , 1993 . Gibbs Smith (With Christopher Felver ) Ferlinghetti: Portrait , 1998 . Poetry Pictures of the Gone World , City Lights , 1955 , enlarged edition, 1995 . Tentative Description of a Dinner Given to Promote the Impeachment of President Eisenhower , Golden Mountain Press , 1958 . A Coney Island of the Mind , New Directions , 1958 . Berlin , Golden Mountain Press , 1961 . One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro , City Lights , 1961 . Starting from San Francisco, with recording of poems , New Directions , 1961 , revised edition without recording, 1967 . (With Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg ) Penguin Modern Poets 5 , Penguin , 1963 . Thoughts of a Concerto of Telemann , Four Seasons Foundation , 1963 . Where Is Vietnam? , City Lights , 1965 . To F— Is to Love Again, Kyrie Eleison Kerista; or, The Situation in the West, Followed by a Holy Proposal , F— You Press , 1965 . Christ Climbed Down , Syracuse University , 1965 . MacGibbon & Kee , An Eye On the World: Selected Poems , 1967 . Moscow in the Wilderness ,Segovia in the Snow, Beach Books , 1967 . After the Cries of the Birds , Dave Haselwood Books , 1967 . Fuclock , Fire Publications , 1968 . Reverie Smoking Grass , East 128 , 1968 . The Secret Meaning of Things , New Directions , 1969 . Tyrannus Nix? , New Directions , 1969 . Back Roads to Far Places , New Directions , 1971 . Love Is No Stone on the Moon , ARIF Press , 1971 . The Illustrated Wilfred Funk , City Lights , 1971 . Open Eye, Open Heart , New Directions , 1973 . Director of Alienation: A Poem , Main Street , 1976 . Who Are We Now? (also see below), City Lights , 1976 . Landscapes of Living and Dying (also see below), New Directions , 1979 . Mule Mountain Dreams , Bisbee Press Collective , 1980 . A Trip to Italy and France , New Directions , 1980 . Endless Life: Selected Poems (includes “Endless Life”), New Directions , 1984 . Over All the Obscene Boundaries: European Poems and Transitions , New Directions , 1985 . Inside the Trojan Horse , Lexikos , 1987 . Wild Dreams of a New Beginning: Including “Landscapes of Living & Dying” and “Who Are We Now?” , New Directions , 1988 . When I Look at Pictures , Peregrine Smith Books , 1990 . These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993 , New Directions (New York City) , 1993 . A Far Rockaway of the Heart , New Directions , 1997 . Plays Unfair Arguments with Existence: Seven Plays for a New Theatre (contains The Soldiers of No Country [produced in London , 1969 ], Three Thousand Red Ants [produced in New York City , 1970 ; also see below], The Alligation [produced in San Francisco , 1962 ; also see below], The Victims of Amnesia [produced in New York City , 1970 ; also see below], Motherlode, The Customs Collector in Baggy Pants [produced in New York City , 1964 ], and The Nose of Sisyphus ), New Directions , 1963 . Routines (contains thirteen short plays, including The Jig Is Up, His Head, Ha-Ha, and Non-Objection), New Directions , 1964 . 3 by Ferlinghetti: Three Thousand Red Ants, The Alligation, [and] The Victims of Amnesia ,produced in New York City , 1970 . Editor Beatitude Anthology , City Lights , 1960 . Pablo Picasso, Hunk of Skin , City Lights , 1969 . Charles Upton, Panic Grass , City Lights , 1969 . City Lights Anthology , City Lights , 1974, 1995 . City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology , City Lights , 1995 . Recordings (With Kenneth Rexroth ) Poetry Readings in “The Cellar,” Fantasy , 1958 . Tentative Description of a Dinner to Impeach President Eisenhower, and Other Poems , Fantasy, 1959 . Tyrannus Nix? and Assassination Raga , Fantasy, 1971 . (With Corso and Ginsberg ) The World's Greatest Poets 1 CMS , 1971 .

From the guide to the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Papers., ca. 1963., (Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center .)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn George Dowden Papers on the Allen Ginsberg Bibliography, 1966-1971 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Peggy Biderman Photographs of Gregory Corso, undated. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Poetry mss., 1954-2002 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
referencedIn Manuscripts and proofs of New Directions books, 1937-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Literary Manuscripts collection, 1666-1990 Free Library of Philadelphia: Rare Book Department
referencedIn Ann Charters Papers., 1966-1982. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Joel Oppenheimer Papers, 1925-1988. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn William L. Kinter papers, Kinter (William L.) papers, 1958-1965 John Hay Library, Special Collections
referencedIn Djuna Barnes papers, 1820-1982, 1910-1975 Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn Judson Memorial Church Archive, 1838-1995 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Mark Green papers, 1954-1991, bulk 1954-1978 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Eddie Woods papers, circa 1957- 2009 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977, 1935-1969 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Kay Boyle collection of papers, 1925-1988, 1952-1986 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Aaron Kramer papers, ca. 1940 -1986. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Yevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich, 1933-. Papers, ca. 1920-1999, ca. 1945-1997 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn The, Daily Worker, and, The Daily World, Photographs Collection, Bulk, 1930-1990, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Diane Di Prima Papers, 1948-1971 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Marguerite Harris Papers, 1901-1978 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn June Oppen Degnan Papers, 1959-1973 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf Lawrence Ferlinghetti Papers, 1919-2003 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Angel Hair Archive, 1965-1973 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Outburst Archive, 1959-1964 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Andy Logan papers, 1923-2000 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Irving Rosenthal papers, ca. 1950-1996 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn George Economou Papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Papers of Lawrence Ferlinghetti University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Department of Special Collections
creatorOf Lawrence Ferlinghetti Manuscript, 1962 The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for SouthwestResearch
referencedIn My Own Magazine Archive, 1963-1965 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Vincent Ferrini Papers., n.d., 1949-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Jeffery Beam Papers (#4888), ca. 1968-2007 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Black Stone Press : papers and ephemera, 1974-1996 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn William S. Burroughs papers, 1951-1972, 1958-1972 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Ed Sanders Papers., undated, 1955-1976. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn Chandler Brossard Papers, 1951-2002 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn City Lights Books Records, 1953-1970 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Red Ozier Press records, 1971-1986 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Gregory Corso Papers, 1949-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Richard Brautigan Papers, 1942-2003, (bulk 1958-1984) Bancroft Library
referencedIn Oral History of the American Left: Radical Histories, 1920-1980 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Barry Miles Papers, 1958-1990 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Kenneth Patchen papers, 1929-1989, (bulk 1929-1972) University of California, Santa Cruz. . University Library Special Collections and Archives
referencedIn Paul Auster Papers, 1963-1995, 1972-mid-1995 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Origin Archive, 1951-1968 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn William J. Eisenlord photographs, 1953-1976 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Gregory Corso letters and poems, 1956–1975 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Charles Upton Papers., undated, 1932-2002 (bulk, 1966-2002). Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Lawrence Ferlinghetti Papers., ca. 1963. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn M. L. Rosenthal Papers, ca. 1930-1996 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Gore Vidal papers, 1850-2020 (inclusive), 1936-2008 (bulk) Houghton Library.
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Charleen Swansea Papers, 1928-2004 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Inventory to the Records of the Conference on Literature and Urban Experience (CLUE), Rutgers University Newark, April 17-19, 1980, 1978-1983 Rutgers University. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Kenneth Rexroth papers, Bulk, 1969-1981, 1940-1982 USC Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1943-1991, [Bulk Dates: 1945-1976] Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Beach Archive, ca. 1962-1973 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Oyez Press Records., 1963-1987. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn Bridson mss., 1934-1980 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
referencedIn Hamilton A. Tyler Papers, 1915-1984 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Fernando Alegria papers, 1924-2000, 1940-1998 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alegr? a, Fernando, 1918- person
associatedWith Angel Hair Books (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Auster, Paul, 1947- person
associatedWith Barnes, Djuna person
correspondedWith Beam, Jeffery, 1953- person
associatedWith Biderman, Peggy. person
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992 person
correspondedWith Brautigan, Richard person
associatedWith Bridson, D. G. 1910- person
associatedWith Brossard, Chandler, 1922-1993 person
associatedWith Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997 person
associatedWith Charters, Ann. person
associatedWith City Lights Books corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Corso, Gregory. person
correspondedWith Degnan, June Oppen person
associatedWith Di Prima, Diane, Archives person
associatedWith Dowden, George person
associatedWith Economou, George. person
associatedWith Eisenlord, William J. person
associatedWith Ferrini, Vincent. person
associatedWith Free Library of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 person
associatedWith Green, Mark person
associatedWith Harris, Marguerite, Archives person
associatedWith Judson Memorial Church (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 person
associatedWith Kinter, William L. (William Lewis), 1915- person
associatedWith Koch, Peter. person
correspondedWith Kramer, Aaron, 1921- person
associatedWith Logan, Andy person
associatedWith Miles, Barry, 1943- person
associatedWith Modern Poetry Association corporateBody
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
correspondedWith Oppenheimer, Joel person
associatedWith Origin (Boston, Mass.). corporateBody
correspondedWith Oyez Press corporateBody
associatedWith Patchen, Kenneth Papers. person
associatedWith Red Ozier Press corporateBody
correspondedWith Rexroth, Kenneth, 1905-1982 person
associatedWith Rosenthal, Irving, 1930- person
correspondedWith Sanders, Ed. person
associatedWith Swansea, Charleen person
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
associatedWith The Conference on Literature and Urban Experience (CLUE), Rutgers University Newark corporateBody
correspondedWith Tyler, Hamilton, A. person
associatedWith Upton, Charles person
associatedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Woods, Eddie person
associatedWith Yevtushenko, Yevgeny person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
American poetry--20th century
Poets
Authors, American--20th century
Beat generation--Poetry
Beat generation
Poems
Occupation
Poet. Publisher
Function

Person

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