The Visual Art of Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Recently my grad program met in Philadelphia to critique their latest assignment. The prompt was A Coney Island of the Mind but did not have to be based on the 1958 Lawrence Ferlinghetti poetry book of the same name. One of the unexpected outcomes, thanks to one of the students, was the discovery that Ferlinghetti himself is a visual artist.

How did I not know that? Alongside his writings, his 1957 recording Poetry Readings in the Cellar, featuring both Ferlinghetti and Kenneth Rexroth reciting their poetry to jazz, remains one of my favorite albums.

A Coney Island of the Mind has been translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies. Like fellow Beat poet Jack Kerouac, whose collection of paintings was published by author Ed Adler back in 2004, Felinghetti has been creating art since 1948. In 1953 he cofounded City Lights bookstore and publishing in San Francisco. Ferlinghetti’s paintings have been shown at numerous national and international museums. Ferlinghetti recently celebrated his 99th birthday.

Welcome O Life! from James Joyce, 2008

Ezra Pound, 2009

Voyage, 2015

Orestes and Mother, 1981

Pablo, 1992

Deux, 1959

1979

Future Woman, 2013

Man with the Blue Guitar, 2012

Greek Warrior, 1981

Provincetown, 1995

2008

1997

2011

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