Sunday, March 24, 2019
Ferlinghetti Turns 100
"Some time during eternity
some guys show up ..."
And one of those guys who showed up 100 years ago today became an iconic figure in the world of American poetry and publishing. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is celebrating his one-hundredth birthday, and the accolades justly honor this man of American letters.
I somehow discovered Ferlinghetti in my early teens after my introduction to the Beats via Danny Sugarman's biography of Jim Morrison, and it wasn't long before I was reading Howl and looking for more poetry like A Coney Island of the Mind to rattle my small town suburban existence of a 1980s Gen X youth. While never truly a poet at heart, despite my attempts to develop a withdrawn poet ethos at various times in my life, Ferlinghetti was someone I came back to whenever I need him, like when I memorized "Sometime during eternity" for a college class in oral interpretation. It may be the only poem I ever performed.
Ferlinghetti matters to American literature and culture, and it's right that we celebrate his one hundred years.