Poetry: Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Lawrence_Ferlinghetti #64

See more excellent poems in Sabio’s Poetry Anthology

My thoughts:

It was 2010, I was visiting Niagara Falls with my family and staying in a hostel. On woke early in the mornings, leaving our bunk-bed room, I went down to the living room and read the book a friend left me: A Coney Island of the Mind (1958) — one of Ferlinghetti’s poetry books. It was the first poetry book I read in decades, and he inspired me to try my hand at poetry — here is one from that Morning. Ferlinghetti’s poetry then later motivated me to start my experimental poetry blog (Fields of Yuan).

This poem can be found at: The Writer’s Almanac

I am not a fan of poetry with off-set scattered lines like this one by Ferlinghetti. Indeed, I think many novice poets do it just to make their ramblings look poetic — ooops, that was a bit critical, wasn’t it. But Ferlinghetti (b. 1919) does it well, and I found his poetry magical. I hope you enjoy this poem as I did. Read his history on wiki, it is fascinating.

Notes for those who need the info like I did:

1. Piazza della Rotunda (wiki): The Piazza della Rotonda is a piazza (city square) in Rome, Italy, on the south side of which is located the Pantheon. The square gets its name from the Pantheon’s informal title as the church of Santa Maria Rotonda.

2. “deigning” — do something that one considers to be beneath one’s dignity.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

7 responses to “Poetry: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

  1. Earnest

    I love the poem but I agree with thr dislike of the broken lines of text. My eyes jumped incorrectly, missing words the first time, making it seem muddled and not make sense.

    It’s hard enough to get our youth to even read poetry in the first place. Deliberately making poetry hard to read somehow seems a disservice to them.

  2. @ Earnest:
    I can’t agree more !
    I still strongly dislike the shifted lines.
    Check out my criticism of Centered Poems and Tiny Lined Poems

  3. Glad to see you’re active once again!

    I just came back from California (Bay Area, mostly Berkeley), and I did spend a few hours at the City Lights bookstore. Yes, it was founded by Ferlinghetti. Nice coincidence to see his poem on your blog!

  4. Interesting coincidence, Takis. God speaking to you? 😉

  5. Explanation: In Matthew 26:64, Jesus replies to the judge, who is trying to make Him reply in affirmative that He is the Son of God, “ΣΥ ΕΙΠΑΣ”, that is, “it is you who said so”. This phrase has remained in modern Greek and is used in a rather cynical way when the speaker [c.f. the judge] is using arguments that are not to his advantage, especially when he humiliates himself by being a hypocrite. We use the phrase when we disagree with the speaker, essentially telling him that it is only he who claimed what he claimed and our response is “this is your assertion; you said it yourself; expect no further reply from us”.

    In this sense, I replied to you: ΣΥ ΕΙΠΑΣ.

  6. LOL. I know, Takis, the truth is hard to accept. Just keep seeking and maybe someday …. 🙂

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