Booktube Video: Lawrence Ferlinghetti Turns 100 Years Old, Plus the Beat Poets

Happy upcoming 100th birthday to my favorite poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

Ever since my mom gleefully read “Don’t Let That Horse” to me, he’s been a favorite. I’m excited that he’s still alive and producing work.

Want to learn more about him? Here is some additional info about Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Beat poets:

“An Introduction to Beat Poets” at Poetry Foundation.com

The Beat poets were born out of feelings of isolation, a fight against World War II and against conformity. They arose in the mid 1950s, finding a public voice especially in Allen Ginsberg’s angry manifesto, “Howl.”

“Driving the Beat Road” The Washington Post

Many famous writers and poets were part of this movement. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Diane di Prima. Though Ferlinghetti published and wrote alongside many of these poets, he never considered himself as one of them. Rather, he was the straight (as in non-partying) man minding the shop.

“The Howl Obscenity Trial” at FoundSF.org

When Lawrence Ferlinghetti read Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl, he was elated and campaigned to publish it. The poem had the fatal mix of sex (including, gasp, homosexual sex), drugs, and rock and roll. Ferlinghetti was arrested on obscenity charges for publishing and selling the work. Luckily, he won.

“At 96, Poet And Beat Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti Isn’t Done Yet” NPR.org

In addition to a still-active life of producing his poetry that mixes humor and politics, lawrence Ferlinghetti has a long career as an accomplished artist. Though others mind the City Lights bookstore now, he’s still an active member of and commenter on San Francisco’s culture.

100th birthday festivities at the City Lights bookstore

For his 100th birthday, City Lights bookstore will be holding festivities to celebrate. Get the run-down on their website.

“Don’t Let That Horse” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

My favorite poem of his is silly, but with a reference to Chagall’s famous painting so I can feel at least somewhat high-brow(ish) while gleefully reading along.

“Trump’s Trojan Horse” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, posted by Kitchen Sisters

Ferlinghetti is still actively writing. You can see him writing a poem against the Trump world in this upload from Kitchen Sisters. He likes to wear his Statue of Liberty mask while reading politically-slanting poetry.