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Poetry as Insurgent Artby Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Synopses & Reviews
In 1953 Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded the first paperback bookstore in the United States. In over five decades City Lights, the bookstore and publisher, has become a Mecca for millions. Ferlinghetti's (ND, 1958) is a number one best-selling volume of poetry by any living American poet. Now, New Directions is proud to publish his manifesto in a paperback edition.
"Short and inspiring, but rarely surprising, this collection of remarks, aphorisms and exhortations about the nature and purpose of poetry began in the late 1950s, when Ferlinghetti was just coming into his own as a Beat poet and publisher of City Lights Books. After 50 years of revisions and additions, his claims may not strike experienced readers as fresh — and some may even seem clichd: 'The state of the world,' his first page declares, 'calls out for poetry to save it.' On the other hand, Ferlinghetti's very large body of fans (he is one of the bestselling 20th-century American poets) should find reason and justice in these eternal verities, couched in up-to-date lingo: 'Poems are e-mails from the unknown beyond cyberspace,' for example. Beginning teachers of creative writing should also find Ferlinghetti's instructions of use: 'Read between the lines of human discourse.' Two groups of aphorisms make up most of the volume, to which Ferlinghetti adds a short essay and two 1970s poems. 'Modern Poetry Is Prose' encourages young writers to discover the 'dark spirit of earth and blood'; 'Populist Manifesto #1' hopes 'Whitman's wild children,' however pressed down by modernity, will soon 'Awake and sing in the open air.' (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A manifesto, essay, and discourse on the value of poetic thought in the modern age.
From the groundbreaking "A Coney Island of the Mind" in 1958 to the personal epic of "Americus, Book I" in 2003, Ferlinghetti has been the poetic conscience of America. In this work, he offers--in prose--what poetry is, could be, and should be.
About the Author
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919) is not only a major American poet—he is a national icon. "Through his publishing and bookselling at City Lights Books in San Francisco, his inspiration of the Beats, his steady publication of and coverage of poets both classic and avante-garde, Ferlinghetti has been a major force and an inspiration in the literary world. He has always pushed the edges of the literary envelope and has been unwavering in his commitment to literature."—The citation for the National Book Award's first Literarian Award (2005), recognizing an individual whose life's work has enhanced the literary world as a whole. In December 2006, Ferlinghetti was named as a Commander in the French Order of Arts and Letters. Among his many books: A Coney Island of the Mind; Americus, Book I; Mexican Night; Starting from San Francisco; Wild Dreams of a New Beginning; and many more.
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