Coney Island of the Mind – Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1958)


“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Coney Island of the Mind, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s landmark second volume of poetry. In commemoration, New Directions has recently released a new hardback edition of the book, complete with a CD of the author reading the bulk of its poems, as well as selections from Pictures of the Gone World, his first collection of verse. Such an elaborate republication is highly appropriate–for time has revealed Coney Island of the Mind to be not only a book of great cultural importance, but also a major classic of modern poetry. As a social phenomenon Coney Island of the Mind is truly remarkable. With roughly a million copies in print, few poetry collections come anywhere close to matching its readership. Raw sales, though, only tell part of the story. Along with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Ferlinghetti’s classic helped lay the artistic foundation for the counterculture movements of the 50s, 60s and beyond, to the point where even today it’s a standard entry point for many wishing to explore the serious literary underground. But it’s far more that just a cultural signpost. The reason Coney Island of the Mind has held up so well is that it also marks the first full flowering of Ferlinghetti’s considerable poetic gifts. Employing open elastic lines that often seesaw across the page, Ferlinghetti’s verse is a unique combination of Whitmanesque proclamation and Dionysian celebration, where a deep love for life and art is interlaced with call for the human race to finally begin living up to its potential. A perfect example of this heady brew would be this excerpt from poem #13. …”
Guardian
Wikipedia
A Coney Island of the mind 1 (Audio)
Poetry Foundation: Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15)
amazon

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