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Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti passed away today.

I get it… I imagine that most of the people who read this blog do not know who Lawrence Ferlinghetti was. If you’re not into Beat literature and/or modern poetry you may never have heard of him. But, in brief, he was a seminal Beat poet and he founded City Light Publishers and Book Store in San Francisco.

Every time I go to San Francisco I go to City Lights. It’s in North Beach and it is a GREAT bookshop.

I had a little bit of a history with Ferlinghetti. Way back, in the way back when, I used to send City Lights my poetry collections in hopes that they would publish my work. A young man’s dreams and all of that… It’s not like my poetry had not previously been published… Anyway, I guess Ferlinghetti got sick of receiving my stuff. I got a hand written and signed letter from him stating he would never publish me. I guess I should have kept that letter. But, I never keep negative stuff. Happy

But, back then, the 1980s and into the 1990s, they would always have my chapbooks on hand. City Lights has an indie poetry section against one wall and I would always see my stuff being sold there. Whenever I would go in there and see one of my chapbooks I would sign it. So, if you ever see any of those on the market, it was probably signed at City Lights.

But, all this is not the reason I am writing this… A totally bizarre and beyond coincidental thing happened to me this morning. I was looking around eBay and I saw a, “Bundle,” of books by Bukowski being sold as, “Signed.” They were not signed by Buk, as so many books are. FYI: There are millions of his signed books out there. I don’t know who signed more books, Buk or Timothy Leary. Anyway, they were being advertised as being signed by Buk’s one time girlfriend, Linda King. She signs a lot of his stuff. But, what was not advertised is that two of the books, published by City Lights, were also signed by Ferlinghetti (Editor). I, of course, snapped them up.

I told my lady about it. Not being into poetry, she is also one of those people who didn’t know who Ferlinghetti was. …Though she always goes to City Lights with me. I explained who he was and told her the funny story about his letter of rejection. I also mentioned that he must be very old by this point in time. I looked it up and he was one-hundred and one years old. That was that…

I’m off on my day. As I was driving, listening to NPR, it comes over the airwaves that Lawrence Ferlinghetti had just died today. How bizarre. Just this morning I looked him up and he was still alive. Just this morning I purchased two books that he had signed. Now, he had passed on. I mean that is just coincidence beyond belief. I am so thankful I purchased those books. I think most people could not or would not appreciate the contribution he made to literature. But, I do.

Anyway… If you get a chance and feel like, check out some of his writing. He had a very unique voice. I’m sure you can find a lot of his stuff on-line.

As for literature, another one of the GREATS has been lost. I’m sure there is a poem in all of this but I will save that for someone else to write. This is my tribute. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, thanks for being who you were and doing what you did! And, thanks for the letter of rejection. Happy