Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1965 on WNET

continuing from yesterday’s feature

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is profiled as the companion poet to Allen in Richard O Moore‘s “USA Poetry” series

Introduction: “Allen Ginsberg was once called “the Abominable Snowman of modern poetry” . The man who used this phrase was his publisher, a poet himself, a man of international fame and the owner of the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Like Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti is very much concerned with what is going on in the world today, the very opposite of the popular image of the poet as someone disengaged or, removed from reality.”

LF: I’ve been looking out the window mostly, seeing some old mangy beer bottles that, at the moment, seem to have disappeared, “contemplating the situation in the West, dreaming of utopia” (that’s the beginning of a very long poem called “The Situation In The West Followed By A Holy Proposal”  –  And just looking out, tho’ , to see, last year, this poem just came out – “Dreaming of utopias/where everybody’s a lover…”…”…misdirected sexual energy…

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti in a mask surveys the San Francisco skyline]

This poem goes on for another five minutes and then after a holy proposal to solve the international crisis, with this ends” – “and blessed be the fruit of transcopulation….”. … “we’ll all still have the sun/in which to recognize ourselves at last across the world/over the obscene boundaries!”

“Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a painter as well as a poet. And he holds a doctorate from the Sorbonne. His book, A Coney Island of the Mind, was first published in 1958, and is now in its thirteenth printing by New Directions. It’s one of the most widely read books of poetry today. One of the poems concerns this very dog who’s name is Homer

Ferlighetti recites his famous anti-establishment poem, “Dog” –  (“The dog trots freely in the street/and sees reality….”.  “some Victorious answer/to everything.’)

Footage shows Ferlinghetti taking Homer for a walk (from his Potrero Hill home to North Beach and Chinatown) (“He doesn’t hate cops/He merely has no use for them/and he goes past them..”…The dog trots freely in the street/and has his own dog’s life to live/and to think about/and to reflect upon..”).  The film concludes with Ferlinghetti reciting his poem, standing against a brick wall. He has to raise his voice just a little towards the end, as the worker next door, taking out crates, seems sweetly and blithely indifferent to him.

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