Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti Poems

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
...

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting
...

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
...

Sometime during eternity
some guys show up
and one of them
who shows up real late
...

Don't let that horse
         eat that violin
cried Chagall's mother
...

The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where i first
fell in love
with unreality
...

Night closed my windows and
The sky became a crystal house
The crystal windows glowed
The moon
...

Watching baseball, sitting in the sun, eating popcorn,
reading Ezra Pound,
and wishing that Juan Marichal would hit a hole right through the
Anglo-Saxon tradition in the first Canto
...

There's a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
...

It was a face which darkness could kill
in an instant
a face as easily hurt
by laughter or light
...

Oh you gatherer
      of the fine ash of poetry
            ash of the too-white flame
                  of poetry
...

Long long I lay in the sands

Sounds of trains in the surf
in subways of the sea
...

I didn’t get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear
Have you ever stopped to consider
underwear in the abstract
...

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.
...

The great Chinese dragon which is the greatest dragon in all the
world and which once upon a time was towed across the
Pacific by a crew of coolies rowing in an open boat—was
the first real live dragon ever actually to reach these shores
...

The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where I first
fell in love
with unreality
...

A poet is born
A poet dies
And all that lies between
is us
...

The changing light
                 at San Francisco
       is none of your East Coast light
                none of your
...

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafe in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups.
...

Driving a cardboard automobile without a license
      at the turn of the century
   my father ran into my mother
                  on a fun-ride at Coney Island
...

Lawrence Ferlinghetti Biography

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. Author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, he is best known for A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of over one million copies. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Bronxville, New York on March 24, 1919. His mother, Albertine Mendes-Monsanto (born in Lyon, France) was of French/Portuguese Sephardic Jewish heritage. His father, Carlo Ferlinghetti, was born in the province of Brescia, Italy on March 14, 1872. He immigrated to the United States in 1894, was naturalized in 1896, and worked as an auctioneer in Little Italy, NYC. At some unknown point, Carlo Ferlinghetti shortened the family name to "Ferling," and Lawrence wouldn't learn of his original name until 1942, when he had to provide a birth certificate to join the U.S. Navy. Though he used "Ferling" for his earliest published work, Ferlinghetti reverted to the original Italian "Ferlinghetti" in 1955, when publishing his first book of poems, Pictures of the Gone World. Ferlinghetti's father died six months before he was born, and his mother was committed to an asylum shortly after his birth. He was raised by his French aunt Emily, former wife of Ludovico Monsanto, an uncle of his mother from the Virgin Islands who taught Spanish at the U.S. Naval Academy. Emily took Ferlinghetti to Strasbourg, France, where they lived during his first five years, with French as his first language. After their return to the U.S., Ferlinghetti was placed in an orphanage in Chappaqua, N.Y. while Emily looked for employment. She was eventually hired as a French governess for the daughter of Presley Eugene Bisland and his wife Anna Lawrence Bisland, in Bronxville, New York, the latter being the daughter of the founder of Sarah Lawrence College, William Van Duzer Lawrence. They resided at the Plashbourne Estate. In 1926, Ferlinghetti was left in the care of the Bislands. After attending various schools, including Riverdale Country School, Bronxville Public School, and Mount Hermon School (now Northfield Mount Hermon School). During these years, Ferlinghetti became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he earned a B.A. in journalism in 1941. His entry to the world of journalism was writing sports for The Daily Tar Heel, and he published his first short stories in Carolina Magazine, for which Thomas Wolfe had written.)

The Best Poem Of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The World Is A Beautiful Place

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don't mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don't sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind some people dying
all the time
or maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn't half bad
if it isn't you

Oh the world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey to
with its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen

and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
dancing
and going swimming in rivers
on picnics
in the middle of the summer
and just generally
'living it up'
Yes
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling

mortician

Lawrence Ferlinghetti Comments

Michael Shepherd 20 February 2005

Dear Lawrence, You won't remember me. But I remember you. Harbour Lights Bookshop, forgot which year. We talked about Coney Island and the mind of America. I remember it so clearly. They tell me you're not around much to check they print your poems correctly. If you've time to write, dropp me a line. What's it like to be immortal? Michael

26 19 Reply

Dear Micheal, Its like being large and small, soft and hard, smart and oblivious at perfect intervals. Immortality is living at the equator of duality. Its what you are when you stop and forget to analyse. You can do it too. You just have to die a little without dying at all. When cynicism comes, walk beyond and Lawrence will be there waiting.

22 9 Reply
Ann Jeeves 11 February 2018

Not inquiring about poems in the last 14 days, am trying to trace a poem which I beleive was written by him containg the lines Pity the Nation whose people are sheep, and whose shepherds mislead them..etc

13 0 Reply
Roger Ford 26 November 2017

Good poet, but never should have announced a reading right after TMI or compared all of us who had been told either nothing or contradictory tales by industry and government to sheep. The poor guy had no sense of responsibility to us, no idea of what was happening, and basically was making a buck from the near-disaster.

1 7 Reply
Frank Avon 25 October 2014

Ferlinghetti is best known for his publishing of 'Howl' by Allen Ginsburg - and for the bitter trial which attempted censoring (and censuring) it. But Ferlinghetti's own poetry, IMO, is on the whole even more interesting, provocative, and engaging than Ginsburg's. It's a shame PH does not list more of his works. I would definitely add to myfavoritepoem list his 'Christ climbed down from his bare tree this year' and 'Dog' - perhaps others that I'm not remembering at the moment. I think his 'Coney Island of the Mind' is one of the dozen or so best (and most original) collections to be published in the US in the 20th century. And, of course, his City Lights press was even more influential, publishing and promoting so many ground-breaking volumes; for example, Frank O'Hare's 'Lunch Poems' and many of the San Franciso School of poets.

5 1 Reply
Ann Posey 18 April 2021

Hy

0 0 Reply
Connie Goldbach 03 March 2020

It's time for a copy of " PITY THE POOR NATION" please... Connie Goldbach

2 0 Reply
Darrell Larson 21 April 2019

hey Stuart Pearson- he is alive, and alove, for that matter. he's 100 years old.

3 2 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 18 February 2019

Lawrence Ferlinghetti GREAT LIBERAL HEART OF POETRY

1 1 Reply
Stuart Pearson 20 December 2018

I WISH FERLINGHETTI WAS ALOVE TODAY, IT WOULD BE AMIUSING TO HEARHIM TAUNT the donald!

1 11 Reply

Lawrence Ferlinghetti Quotes

Constantly risking absurdity and death whenever he performs above the heads of his audience the poet like an acrobat climbs on rime to a high wire of his own making.

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