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MP3 Lawrence Ferlinghetti Live at The Poetry Center - SPOKEN WORD: Poetry

Origninal poetry from the father of the beat poetry movement

22 MP3 Songs

A prominent voice of the wide-open poetry movement that began in the 1950s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has written poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration, and essays. Often concerned with politics and social issues, Ferlinghetti''s poetry countered the literary elite''s definition of art and the artist''s role in the world. Though imbued with the commonplace, his poetry cannot be simply described as polemic or personal protest, for it stands on his craftsmanship, thematics, and grounding in tradition.

Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers in 1919. Following his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he saw service in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a ship''s commander. He received a Master''s degree from Columbia University in 1947 and a Doctorate from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in 1950. From 1951 to 1953, settled in San Francisco, he taught French in an adult education program, painted, and wrote art criticism. In 1953, with Peter D. Martin, he founded City Lights Pocket Bookshop, the first all-paperbound bookshop in the country, and by 1955 he had launched the City Lights publishing house.

The bookstore has served for half a century as a meeting place for writers, artists, and intellectuals. City Lights Publishers began with the Pocket Poets Series, through which Ferlinghetti aimed to create an international, dissident ferment. His publication of Allen Ginsberg''s Howl in 1956 led to his arrest on obscenity charges, and the trial that followed drew national attention to the San Francisco Renaissance and Beat movement writers. (He was overwhelmingly supported by prestigious literary and academic figures, and was acquitted.) This landmark First Amendment case established a legal precedent for the publication of controversial work with redeeming social importance.

Ferlinghetti''s paintings have been shown at various galleries around the world, from the Butler Museum of American Art to The Palace of Exhibitions in Rome. In San Francisco, his work can regularly be seen at the George Krevsky Gallery at 77 Geary Street.

Ferlinghetti was named San Francisco''s Poet Laureate in August 1998, and he used his post as a bully-pulpit from which he articulated the "voice of the people." His San Francisco Chronicle columns "Poetry as News" can be read here on the City Lights Web site

His A Coney Island of the Mind (1958) has been translated into nine languages, and there are nearly 1,000,000 copies in print. His most recent books are A Far Rockaway of the Heart (1997) and How to Paint Sunlight (2001), published by New Directions, New York. He also published two novels, Her (1960) and Love in the Days of Rage (1988).

He has received many awards, including the Los Angeles Times'' Robert Kirsch Award, the BABRA Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Award for Contribution to American Arts and Letters, and the ACLU''s Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award, and several others in Italy.

In 2003 he received The Authors'' Guild Lifetime Achievement award, the Poetry Society of America''s Robert Frost Medal, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

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