Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the Spotlight

Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the Spotlight
AP Photo/Sal Veder, File

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the author of some of the best-named books in the history of American poetry. You'd have to search a long time to find titles as good as the one he gave his reportedly million-seller, A Coney Island of the Mind, in 1958 (or even A Far Rockaway of the Heart in 1998). Early in his career, Ferlinghetti moved to California, founding the City Lights bookstore and publishing house in San Francisco. It's there on the West Coast that he practiced his left-leaning social activism while writing more than 30 slim volumes of poetry and prose, and he reached his 100th birthday on March 24 this year. What's more, he . . . um . . . well, what did Lawrence Ferlinghetti actually do, to claim a place for himself in American letters?

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