Lawrence Ferlinghetti has died at 101 years old – and it has shifted my step for just a minute.
My junior year of college, I took a Beat Poetry class – taught by Ann Charters – who had built a career with the likes of Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, and Ginsberg – and had become somewhat synonymous with Kerouac for interviewing him and writing numerous bits and pieces about him.
She is – thankfully – responsible for introducing me to a wonderful world of poetry that purposely bucked the system – in format, tone, and subject matter; at the time.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a writer – but he never considered himself a Beat Poet. In fact, he spent his efforts – through his gift to the world; City Lights – getting the work of the Beats out to the masses.
Without Ferlinghetti’s dedication to the cause, many of us may have never gotten a taste of “Howl and Other Poems” or possibly even Allen Ginsberg himself.
That’s huge! There’s a lot of chaos in that thought – a lot of “what if’s” that we’ll never need to consider because Ferlinghetti did it, man – he did it – and it was a gift to us all.
And, it’ll continue to shine a light on people with open-mindedness and comfort for generations.
To be honest, I didn’t even know Lawrence Ferlinghetti was still alive. All of his contemporaries had moved on, so I was left to assume he had too. But to be honest, I haven’t really been paying attention.
Beat Poetry was a phase for me – albeit a foundation and ignition.
I’ve got a whole shelf of the stuff out on the bookcase – and I’ll pick at it from time to time. But I don’t actively read poetry today. Any of it.
Poetry embarrasses me; makes me blush – takes me out of my comfort zone – so I stick to writing it, and then – only editing it for content – and moving on.
There’s nothing as open and honest as a good poem, and the Beats proved that.
You want to bounce something off the Universe?
Write a poem, and thank the Beats.
And because of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, it grew past the borders of places like San Francisco and New York and into the hearts and minds of those willing to expand their minds, throughout the world.
Good luck on your next adventure, amigo. Thank you!