He’s Still Waiting!

 

“A Brave Man and a Brave Poet.”-Bob Dylan on Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Today is the birthday of one of America’s best poets, in my opinion, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and he is 95 years old!  I used to read and carry around his “A Coney Island of the Mind,” which contained a fave poem of mine, “I Am Waiting,” with the great line, “and I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder.”

He was hip, he was cool and he opened a bookstore that I would have liked to have visited, but never got the chance: City Lights Bookstore in North Beach in San Francisco.

I am so happy to celebrate his birthday with you today!

He was born in Yonkers and when his dad died when he was a few months old, his mom was committed to a state mental institution and Lawrence was sent to France to be raised by an aunt. He returned to the states, served in WW II in the Navy, and opened his bookstore, named after the Charlie Chaplin movie, “City Lights,” because, “Chaplin’s character represents for me … the very definition of a poet. … A poet, by definition, has to be an enemy of the State. If you look at Chaplin films, he’s always being pursued by the police. That’s why he’s still such a potent symbol in the cinema — the little man against the world.” writersalmanac.publicradio.org)

“I Have Been Eating Poetry.”-Mark Strand

“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth

There is no happiness like mine.

I have been eating poetry.”

~Mark Strand, “Eating Poetry,” Reasons for Moving, 1968 

As a teacher, I can’t let National Poetry Month pass by without a nod to just a few lines from a few favorite poems

“Hope is the thing with feathers…That perches in the soul, And sings the tune–without the words, And never stops at all…”Emily Dickinson, “Hope”

“…and I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder. . .”Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “I Am Waiting”

“One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”-Robert Frost, “Birches”

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face;” William Butler Yeats, “When You Are Old”     

“Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.”Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish Part I”

“Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor –Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on,”Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son”

“listen children…keep this in the place…you have for keeping…always…keep it all ways…

we have never hated black…listen…we have been ashamed…hopeless tired mad…but always

all ways…we loved us…we have always loved each other…children all ways…pass it on.”  –Lucille Clifton, “Listen Children”

“Your world is as big as you make it.”-Georgia Douglas Johnson, “Your World”

“For my people lending their strength to the years, to the     gone years and the now years and the maybe years,”Margaret Walker, “For My People”

 There are an endless amount of poems I could mention. Have fun clicking onto the poets or their poems above to read the entire texts.  Also, please enjoy the posters below! Happy National Poetry Month!

Are You “Waiting for a Rebirth of Wonder?” Celebrate Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder” -Ferlinghetti

 

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite poets, beat or any type, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who IS 94 years old today; the same age my dad would’ve been!   Oh how I loved to recite Ferlinghetti’s poetry aloud, especially from his book A Coney Island of the Mind. The poem I would repeatedly recite is: I Am Waiting. If I ever traveled to California, I would’ve liked to have visited his famous landmark bookstore, City Lights in North Beach, (which  opened in 1953 and is still in business), where poets always gathered and I’m sure, still do.  

As an adolescent/teenager/young woman, I read all of the Beat poets/writers like Ginsberg, Corso ,  Kerouac, and knew everyone they hung out with; loved all things considered “beatnik” and wrote poetry since I was about 5 years old. I was fascinated with the Beat Generation. As I got older, that fascination with some of them wore off due to the lives that they led.   

I am so happy to celebrate and share with you Ferlinghetti’s birthday and poetry. Just found this site which celebrates Ferlinghetti’s birthday today which I am going to peruse: The Allen Ginsberg Project: Ferlinghetti’s 94th Birthday

Celebrating Truth to Power: Ferlinghetti stood his ground and challenged the powers that be when it came to publishing works of writers who many wanted censored.  Read this excellent article: The Poet Who Brought You Some Freedom of Speech by Matt Kohn of The Huffington Post.

“Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations.” -Ferlinghetti