Ferlinghetti's "Poetry As Insurgent Art"

I have always admired Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I stumbled into the Beats in my early twenties and his poems (and Corso's) have always had a great impact on me. I do love his lucid view of the world and meeting him in Rome afer one of his readings fourteen years ago made me realize that the man with the most amazing blue eyes, the poet and the thinker were a kind of indissoluble Trinity.

I bought "Poetry As Insurgent Art" last August at City Lights--which was also the very first place I wanted to visit as soon as I arrived in San Francisco. It very much sums up his general point of view that poetry and poets must meet the challenge of this cataclismatic times. It is a lovely, thought-provoking compendium on poetry and wonderful food for thought.

I am pondering over some of his most relevant--to me at least--quotes:

  • Have a good laugh at those who tell you poets are misfits or potential terrorists and a danger to the state.
  • Don't ever believe poetry is irrelevant in dark times.
  • Be committed to something outside yourself. 
  • Be passionate about it.
  • Unless you have an urge to sing don't open your mouth.

I cannot deny it. Ferlinghetti and Hirschman's poetry have fueled some of my latest poems. Grazie Larry!  Grazie Jack!


  1. I agree with all of this. Going to City Lights with you, immersing myself in the words of great poets, it's been a boon for my own writing. And the Ferlinghetti quotes are fantastic, powerful truths!


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