Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1919-2021
If Lawrence Ferlinghetti never done anything else but establish the simple design of the Pocket Poets series from his City Lights press and bookstore, that perfect box around a square, an egg that can contain the likes of Howl or Kadish or Lunch Poems or Pictures of the Gone World, something that could hang out of the loose jean pocket of a wastrel and transmit a worldliness, perhaps unearned, but nonetheless claimed, he'd deserve a statue erected in every hip bookshop or at least a face tattoo on a member of its staff.
But he did more than that. He established a storied presence for a very American poetry, an actual address - 261 Columbus Avenue, SF, CA 94133 - one where many a dreamy gloomy teen sent a postcard or maybe a lopped-off ear or whatever.
I ordered a copy of Howl from there once. Maybe twice even. It was pre-everything-everwhere-now mailbox times and you needed a connection and Lawrence Ferlinghetti might have actually put your copy in a mailer and trotted beard and all to the post office. Licked your stamp. He was that connection. You had a connection in him. It was the greatest gift he could give to literature.
Main Image: Lawrence Ferlinghetti from Youtube
Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com
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