Lawrence Ferlinghetti: An American Cultural Icon

Audio description:

Elizabethtown College is celebrating the works of a beloved Beat artist in their newest exhibition.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a Beat-generation poet, artist, and publicist has had a career spanning nearly 80 years. Ferlinghetti’s most notable works are his collection of poems, “A Coney Island of the Mind,” which has sold over one million copies, and his publication of the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsburg.

Exhibition curator, Professor Milt Friedly, spoke about the influence of Ferlinghetti’s poetry on America.

Professor Milt Friedly: “I think of the biggest influences is that he wrote poetry that was understandable, for one thing.

It was very direct so that anyone could pick it up. You didn’t have to be a scholar, you didn’t have to know a lot about poetry or writing, but you could pick it up and relate to it.

And it was about American culture, but the work was also very universal.”

In addition to the exhibit, Elizabethtown College also sponsored a showing of the documentary “Lawrence Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder” by filmmaker Christopher Felver and reading of Ferlinghetti’s poetry in the Bower’s Writers House.

Felver attended the movie viewing and spoke of his long-time friendship with Ferlinghetti, even receiving a call from the 99-year-old poet.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (over the phone): “He’s been working on that film for many, many years.”

The exhibit will be in Lyet gallery until November 18th and is sponsored by George Krevsky, ’62, Professor Milt Friedly and Professor Jesse Waters. In Elizabethtown, I’m Kenyon Tarquinio, wetown.org.

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