The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 24, 2017

March 24, 1919

A brief recap of the, still ongoing, career of Lawrence Ferlinghetti (March 24, 1919)

[who was] born in Yonkers, New York. After spending his early childhood in France, he received his BA from the University of North Carolina, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the Sorbonne.

During World War II he served in the US Naval Reserve and was sent to Nagasaki shortly after it was bombed. He married in 1951 and has one daughter and one son.

In 1953, Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin began to publish City Lights magazine. They also opened the City Lights Books Shop in San Francisco to help support the magazine. In 1955, they launched City Light
[s] Publishing, a book-publishing venture. City Lights became known as the heart of the “Beat” movement, which included writers such as Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac.

Ferlinghetti is the author of more than thirty books of poetry... He has translated the work of a number of poets including Nicanor Parra, Jacques Prevert, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Ferlinghetti is also the author of more than eight plays and of the novels
Love in the Days of Rage (...1988) and Her (...1966).

In 1994, San Francisco renamed a street in his honor. He was also named the first poet laureate of San Francisco in 1998. His other awards and honors include the lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics Circle in 2000, the Frost Medal in 2003, and the Literarian Award in 2005, presented for “outstanding service to the American literary community.”

Currently, Ferlinghetti writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also continues to operate the City Lights bookstore, and he travels frequently to participate in literary conferences and poetry readings.

We excerpt Ferlinghetti's "The Cat."

                The cat
                              licks its paw and
        lies down in
                            the bookshelf nook
                                    .... she is the sphinx with
                        all the time in the world
                                             in the desert of her time
             The cat
                    knows where flies die
                               sees ghosts in motes of air
                                                   and shadows in sunbeams
She hears
       the hum in the wires of houses
                           and the hum of the universe
             in interstellar spaces
                prefers domestic places
                             and the hum of the heater

"The Cat" was published in These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993 (1993).

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