Beat poet, writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti dies at 101

Poet, writer and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped launch and perpetuate the Beat motion, has died. He was 101. 

Ferlinghetti died at his San Francisco dwelling Monday, his son Lorenzo Ferlinghetti advised The Associated Press Tuesday. The trigger was lung illness.

His father died “in his own room,” holding their palms “as he took his last breath, his son said. 

Lorenzo Ferlinghetti said his father loved Italian food and the restaurants in the North Beach neighborhood where he made his home and founded his famous bookstore. He had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine last week and was a month shy of turning 102. 

Ferlinghetti was known for his City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, an essential meeting place for the Beats and other bohemians in the 1950s and beyond.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, left, poses with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in South Kensington, London, June 11, 1965. Ferlinghetti published Ginsberg’s poem Howl in 1956. (M. Stroud/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Its publishing arm released books by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others. The most famous release was Ginsberg’s anthemic poem, Howl. It led to a 1957 obscenity trial that broke new ground for freedom of expression.

In that trial, Ferlinghetti was accused of printing “indecent writings,” although was later acquitted. The poem went on to grow to be of the twentieth century’s most well-known items of writing,  

Ferlinghetti revealed his first assortment, Pictures of the Gone World, in 1955, a small-run sequence of his early poems. He adopted up with A Coney Island of the Mind in 1958, which went on to promote over 1,000,000 copies and established Ferlinghetti as a severe writer. 

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