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Ebook A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti read! Book Title: A Coney Island of the Mind
The author of the book: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Date of issue: January 17th 1968
ISBN: 0811200418
ISBN 13: 9780811200417
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 496 KB
Edition: New Directions Publishing Corporation 74 (NY)

Read full description of the books A Coney Island of the Mind:

This is one of the best-selling poetry books of all time, and, although that is no guarantee of poetic excellence—after all, Rod McKuen and Martin Farquar Tupper both sold a lot of books in their day—it is a sign that the author had his finger on the pulse of his time, that his work embodies the yearnings and anxiety of a particular age.

That is certainly true of Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind(1958). No other book so perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the ‘60’s counterculture, the optimism of the young radicals who would take this book into their hearts. Sure there were other poems, some by arguably better poets—the lyric (and ironic) Byronisms of Corso, the Shelleyan ecstasies of McClure, the prophetic lamentations of Ginsberg, the zen eclogues of Snyder—but none of the others embodied so perfectly their vision of their world: sceptical of all institutions, yet open to the experience of joy and suffering—with a painter’s eye, a mystic’s soul, and a lover’s heart.

The first third of the book, entitled “A Coney Island of the Mind,” contains a remarkable number of memorable individual passages: Sometime during eternity/ some guys show up/ and one of them/ who shows up real late/ is a kind of carpenter/ from some square-type place/ like Galilee/… Him just hang there/ on His Tree/ looking real Petered out/ / and real cool/ and also/ according to a roundup of late world news/ from the usual unreliable sources/ real dead…

What could she say to the fantastic foolybear/ and what could she say to brother/ and what could she say/ to the cat with future feet/ and what could she say to mother…

Don’t let that horse/ eat that violin/ cried Chagall’s mother/ But he/ kept right on/ painting…

Constantly risking absurdity/ and death/ whenever he performs/ above the heads/ of his audience/ the poet like an acrobat/ climbs on rime/ to a high wire of his own making... The last third of the book, which contains the complete text of the earlier Pictures of The Gone World (reviewed early by me on Goodreads) is also filled with passages which are equally memorable.

I think, though, that the best section of this book is the middle section “Oral Messages,” a name Ferlinghetti gives to the loosely structured poems “conceived specifically for jazz accompaniment.” Nothing evokes the leisure, hip, casual feel of the age better than these seven poems.

I will conclude with a passage from the “oral message” entitled “I am Waiting”: I am waiting for Tom Swift to grow up
And I am waiting
for the American Boy
to take off Beauty’s clothes
and get on top of her
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

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Ebook A Coney Island of the Mind read Online! A prominent voice of the wide-open poetry movement that began in the 1950s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has written poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration, and essays. Often concerned with politics and social issues, Ferlinghetti’s poetry countered the literary elite's definition of art and the artist's role in the world. Though imbued with the commonplace, his poetry cannot be simply described as polemic or personal protest, for it stands on his craftsmanship, thematics, and grounding in tradition.

Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers in 1919, son of Carlo Ferlinghetti who was from the province of Brescia and Clemence Albertine Mendes-Monsanto. Following his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a ship's commander. He received a Master’s degree from Columbia University in 1947 and a Doctorate de l’Université de Paris (Sorbonne) in 1950. From 1951 to 1953, when he settled in San Francisco, he taught French in an adult education program, painted, and wrote art criticism. In 1953, with Peter D. Martin, he founded City Lights Bookstore, the first all-paperbound bookshop in the country, and by 1955 he had launched the City Lights publishing house.

The bookstore has served for half a century as a meeting place for writers, artists, and intellectuals. City Lights Publishers began with the Pocket Poets Series, through which Ferlinghetti aimed to create an international, dissident ferment. His publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl & Other Poems in 1956 led to his arrest on obscenity charges, and the trial that followed drew national attention to the San Francisco Renaissance and Beat movement writers. (He was overwhelmingly supported by prestigious literary and academic figures, and was acquitted.) This landmark First Amendment case established a legal precedent for the publication of controversial work with redeeming social importance.

Ferlinghetti’s paintings have been shown at various galleries around the world, from the Butler Museum of American Painting to Il Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. He has been associated with the international Fluxus movement through the Archivio Francesco Conz in Verona. He has toured Italy, giving poetry readings in Roma, Napoli, Bologna, Firenze, Milano, Verona, Brescia, Cagliari, Torino, Venezia, and Sicilia. He won the Premio Taormino in 1973, and since then has been awarded the Premio Camaiore, the Premio Flaiano, the Premio Cavour. among others. He is published in Italy by Oscar Mondadori, City Lights Italia, and Minimum Fax. He was instrumental in arranging extensive poetry tours in Italy produced by City Lights Italia in Firenze. He has translated from the Italian Pier Paolo Pasolin’s Poemi Romani, which is published by City Lights Books. In San Francisco, his work can regularly be seen at the George Krevsky Gallery at 77 Geary Street.

Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind continues to be the most popular poetry book in the U.S. It has been translated into nine languages, and there are nearly 1,000,000 copies in print. The author of poetry, plays, fiction, art criticism, and essays, he has a dozen books currently in print in the U.S., and his work has been translated in many countries and in many languages. His most recent books are A Far Rockaway of the Heart (1997), How to Paint Sunlight (2001), and Americus Book I (2004) published by New Directions.

He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Los Angeles Times’ Robert Kirsch Award, the BABRA Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Award for Contribution to American Arts and Letters, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award. Ferlinghetti was named San Francisco’s Poet Laureate in August 1998.


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