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Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Crawford W. Barton, 2 Jun 1943 - 10 Jun 1993
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, born 24 Mar 1919
Gelatin silver print
Image: 32.6 x 26cm (12 13/16 x 10 1/4")
Sheet: 35.5 x 28cm (14 x 11")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Edward Brooks DeCelle
Restrictions & Rights
© The GLBT Historical Society
Object number
Exhibition Label
The oldest of the Beat poets, Lawrence Ferlinghetti played the role of founding father and elder statesman with wit and good humor. After service in the U.S. Navy, he settled in San Francisco and its burgeoning art scene. There he co-founded City Lights Books, one of the most famous imprints in American poetry. He also published the magazine Beatitude, whose title suggested both a sense of grace and the political imperatives of the Beat generation. "Beat" was not entirely affirmative: it signaled a sense of resignation and fatigue. ("We’re beat.") Ferlinghetti demonstrated a manic quality in which outrageous euphoria and madcap schemes, fueled by experiments with various mind-altering drugs, oscillated with black moods of despair. He could not sustain the pitch of rage that animated Allen Ginsberg; he was not wholly consumed by politics, which perhaps made him a more interesting, if not greater, poet.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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