|Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading in front of City Lights|
Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 101st birthday! He appeared in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur as Lorenzo Monsanto. Click HERE for a brief bio. Click HERE for his official Facebook page.
Well-known for being the co-founder of San Francisco's City Lights Booksellers & Publishers and publishing Beat literature, Ferlinghetti is an accomplished writer and a well-regarded poet. To wit, here is an apropos example:
"PITY THE NATION"
(After Khalil Gibran)
Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerers
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!
Click HERE for the source and for more poems. Unfortunately, City Lights is closed because of the Trump virus. They are thus practicing "spacious solidarity," which sounds less alienating than "social distancing."
Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti.