Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, writer and political iconoclast who impressed and nurtured generations of San Francisco artists and writers from Metropolis Lights, his famed bookstore, died on Monday at his residence in San Francisco. He was 101.
The trigger was interstitial lung illness, his daughter, Julie Sasser, mentioned.
The non secular godfather of the Beat motion, Mr. Ferlinghetti made his residence base within the modest unbiased guide haven now formally often called Metropolis Lights Booksellers & Publishers. A self-described “literary assembly place” based in 1953 and positioned on the border of the town’s generally swank, generally seedy North Seashore neighborhood, Metropolis Lights quickly grew to become as a lot part of the San Francisco scene because the Golden Gate Bridge or Fisherman’s Wharf. (The town’s board of supervisors designated it a historic landmark in 2001.)
Whereas older and never a practitioner of their freewheeling private type, Mr. Ferlinghetti befriended, printed and championed most of the main Beat poets, amongst them Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Michael McClure. His connection to their work was exemplified — and cemented — in 1956 along with his publication of Ginsberg’s most well-known poem, the ribald and revolutionary “Howl,” an act that later led to his arrest on costs of “willfully and lewdly” printing “indecent writings.”
In a major First Modification resolution, Mr. Ferlinghetti was acquitted, and “Howl” grew to become one of many twentieth century’s best-known poems. (The trial was the centerpiece of the 2010 movie “Howl,” by which James Franco performed Ginsberg and Andrew Rogers performed Mr. Ferlinghetti.)
Along with being a champion of the Beats, Mr. Ferlinghetti was himself a prolific author of extensive abilities and pursuits whose work evaded simple definition, mixing disarming simplicity, sharp humor and social consciousness.
“Each nice poem fulfills a longing and places life again collectively,” he wrote in a “non-lecture” after being awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal in 2003. A poem, he added, “ought to come up to ecstasy someplace between speech and tune.”
Critics and fellow poets have been by no means in settlement about whether or not Mr. Ferlinghetti ought to be considered a Beat poet. He himself didn’t assume so.
“In some methods what I actually did was thoughts the shop,” he informed The Guardian in 2006. “After I arrived in San Francisco in 1951 I used to be sporting a beret. If something I used to be the final of the bohemians fairly than the primary of the Beats.”
A whole obituary will likely be printed shortly.
Richard Severo, Peter Keepnews and Alex Traub contributed reporting.