Ferlinghetti & the Beats, still alive and strong

03Sep07

Lawrence FerlinghettiFifty years ago this week Viking Press published Jack Kerouac’s novel “On The Road“. The book was an immediate hit and remains one of the key works of the Beat Generation. And fifty years ago Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl and Other Poems” was prosecuted and went to trial in San Francisco, just off the press at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Publisher. Acquitted of the obscenity charges, it immediately become another Beat Generation hit. Explains Ferlinghetti in an interview with Amy Goodman on today’s Democracy Now!: «Well, it was that reaction when I first read it and when I first heard it: I’ve never seen the world before like this. It’s just a new reality I’m seeing and hearing. And I think that’s the way it is with great works. When you first read it, you say, “I’ve never known this was the way things are. I never realized that’s the way the world really is.”» At the age of 88, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is one of the last Beats alive and still going strong. He continues to write poetry and run City Lights. This interview is a condensed rich cultural and historical lesson for all—both for those old enough to remember and for our emergent young writers/artists, teetering on the precipice of the next revolution. Not to be missed. Same advice for a new movie about Gregory Corso, who after the death of Allen Ginsberg, his best friend, goes “On the Road” to rediscover himself as the “Last Beat.” A classic “road movie” crafted from outstanding documentary work: Corso—the last Beat.



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