Lawrence Ferlinghetti at 100: Bay Area poets pay tribute | KALW

Lawrence Ferlinghetti at 100: Bay Area poets pay tribute

Mar 19, 2019

Lawrence Ferlinghetti will be 100 years old this Sunday.

The poet and painter was the contemporary of authors Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. In 1953, he opened City Lights bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach — the first all-paperback bookseller in the country. 

He also started printing literature. One of the earliest publications was a poem by Allen Ginsberg.

“Howl” became an artistic symbol of society’s dysfunction. Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti were both arrested. The government called them immoral. History has made them immortal.

The San Francisco Public Library held a tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti Sunday afternoon in the Koret Auditorium. The 235-seat room was filled beyond capacity. People were there to listen to some of the Bay Area’s most prominent writers share stories and poems about, and by, San Francisco’s first poet laureate.