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The Poets

March 24, 2011

Lawrence Ferlinghetti*

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 to date)

In 1919, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York. After spending his early childhood in France, he received his BA from the University of North Carolina, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the Sorbonne.

During World War II he served in the US Naval Reserve and was sent to Nagasaki shortly after it was bombed. He married in 1951 and has one daughter and one son.

In 1953, Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin began to publish City Lights magazine. They also opened the City Lights Books Shop in San Francisco to help support the magazine. In 1955, they launched City Light Publishing, a book-publishing venture. City Lights became known as the heart of the "Beat" movement, which included writers such as Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac.

Ferlinghetti is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, including Poetry as Insurgent Art (New Directions, 2007)Americus, Book I (2004), San Francisco Poems (2002), How to Paint Sunlight (2001), A Far Rockaway of the Heart (1997), These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993 (1993), Over All the Obscene Boundaries: European Poems & Transitions (1984), Who Are We Now? (1976), The Secret Meaning of Things (1969), and A Coney Island of the Mind (1958). He has translated the work of a number of poets including Nicanor Parra, Jacques Prevert, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Ferlinghetti is also the author more than eight plays and of the novels Love in the Days of Rage (1988) and Her (1966).

In 1994, San Francisco renamed a street in his honor. He was also named the first Poet Laureate of San Francisco in 1998. In 2000, he received the lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics Circle.

Currently, Ferlinghetti writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also continues to operate the City Lights bookstore, and he travels frequently to participate in literary conferences and poetry readings.

*Biography from Poets.org

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