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Lawrence Ferlenghetti -- Poet

Host(s): Allen DeLoach and A. Poulin, Jr.

Tape order number: VF-19-1

Visit Date: March 13, 1973

Length: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Brief Summary: Ferlinghetti demonstrates the uses of poetry as performance, and talks about the oral and heroic tradition of poetry in Russia as one of his models for what poetry can be. He says that poets are supposed to show their audiences what people wouldn't otherwise see, but that most contemporary poets in the U.S. have bland visions of the world. Ferlinghetti talks at length about Pound's influence on the freeing of poetic forms; he also praises Pound's speaking against the U.S. government, but condemns Pound's anti-Semitism.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • "Tyrannus Nix"
  • "Constantly Risking Absurdity"
  • Open Eye, Open Heart

Work(s) Read:

  • "Spontaneous Activists, Pacifists, Buddhists Song"
  • Fifth poem from "A Coney Island of the Mind"
  • "In a Time of Revolution, For Instance"
  • "Pound at Spiletto"
  • "Baseball Cantos"

Writers mentioned:

  • Vosnesensky
  • Yevtuschenko
  • P. Neruda
  • J. Skyler
  • J. Prevert
  • R. Duncan
  • D. Thomas
  • A. Ginsberg
  • H. Marcuse
  • J. Dickey
  • W. Whitman
  • C. Olson
  • E. Pound
  • R. Creely
  • Brodsky
  • D. Berrigan
  • J. Joyce
  • C. Bukowski
  • H. Miller
  • E. Hemingway
  • C. Shapiro
  • T.S. Eliot
  • L. Trilling
  • H. James

There's too much dead language in poetry these days; it's just morbid sometimes...

-- Lawrence Ferlenghetti

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