Lawrence Ferlinghetti was in his early 30s when he wrote a poem of hope and innocence about a penny candy store in New York and the magic to be found in jellybeans and licorice sticks, about the evanescence of a rainy September afternoon.
Sixty years later, Ferlinghetti has written a new book-length poem, "Time of Useful Consciousness," where "technocracy" dominates the heart, where corporations rule the people, where man is greedy and badly educated, and Walt Whitman's optimism is needed - as time is running out.
Since the 1950s, Ferlinghetti has been a San Francisco institution. He opened City Lights in North Beach, a renowned bookstore that attracts visitors from across the world. He stood behind the publication of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," an act of daring that changed the course of publishing in America. He penned dozens of books, published breakthrough works - including the Beat writers, who insisted on oral incantations - and became San Francisco's first poet laureate and its most lyrical town crier.
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