Poet / Publisher
Date Of Birth:
24 March 1920
Date Of Death:
22 February 2021
Place Of Birth:
New York City, New York
Best Known As:
Beat poet/publisher and co-founder of City Lights Books
Name at birth: Lawrence FerlingLawrence Ferlinghetti was a San Francisco writer, bookseller and publisher who was central to the literary movement known as The Beat Generation. When he settled in San Francisco in 1951, Ferlinghetti was a World War II veteran with degrees from the University of North Carolina (1941) and Columbia University (1948) and The Sorbonne (1949). Ferlinghetti co-founded City Lights Books, selling paperbacks and publishing City Lights Journal as well as books of poetry, including Ferlinghetti’s Pictures of the Gone World (1955) and A Coney Island of the Mind (1958). What made City Lights and Ferlinghetti nationally famous was the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956) and the subsequent arrest of Ferlinghetti on obscenity charges. Ferlinghetti was exonerated in a highly publicized 1957 trial, and San Francisco and City Lights became identified as the hub of what’s sometimes called Beat Culture. Ferlinghetti also published several poetry collections, many plays and two novels of his own. Ferlinghetti’s role as a publisher and promoter of the avant garde had a significant impact on modern American literature, and City Lights is an official historic landmark.
Born in New York City to a recent widow with three other sons, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was raised by a relative in France for the first few years of his life.
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