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Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights in 2007
Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights in 2007
Born March 24, 1919 (1919-03-24) (age 101)
Yonkers, New York, United States
Occupation Poet, activist, essayist, painter
Literary movement Beat, New American Poets, Postmodernism, IMMAGINE&POESIA

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore. He is the author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration.

Ferlinghetti's plaque
Plaque with L.Ferlinghetti's quote outside City Lights Bookstore


Ferlinghetti’s poetry is based on lyric and narrative traditions. His themes are the beauty of nature, the tragicomic life of the common man, the situation of the individual in mass society, and the dream and betrayal of democracy.


Ferlinghetti began painting in Paris in 1948. In San Francisco he occupied a studio that he inherited from Hassel Smith. His first works show the influence the New York abstract expressionists. A more figurative style is apparent in his later works. Ferlinghetti’s paintings have been shown at various museums around the world.

60 years of painting, the exhibition held in Italy in 2010, is a creative journey through the twentieth century, reflecting on the role of the artist nowadays.

Tribute to Ferlinghetti
Tribute to Ferlinghetti, painting by Gianpiero Actis


He has received numerous awards, including the Premio Taormina in 1973, and since then has been awarded the Premio Camaiore, the Premio Flaiano, the Premio Cavour, among other honors in Italy. Since 2009 he has been in the Honour Committee of IMMAGINE&POESIA, the artistic literary movement founded in Turin, Italy, with the patronage of Aeronwy Thomas (Dylan Thomas's daughter).

  • A Coney Island of the Mind ([1] New Directions, 1958) Poetry
  • Her (New Directions, 1960) Prose
  • One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro (City Lights, 1961) Broadside poem
  • Americus: Part I (New Directions, 2004)
  • A Coney Island of the Mind (Arion Press, 2005), with portraiture by R.B. Kitaj
  • Poetry as Insurgent Art (New Directions, 2007) Poetry
  • A Coney Island of the Mind: Special 50th Anniversary Edition with a CD of the author reading his work (New Directions, 2008)

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