Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers in 1919. Following his
undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
he saw service in the U.S. Navy, was training in Chicago when Pearl
Harbor was bombed, took part in the Normandy Invasion, and arrived in
Nagasaki just weeks after the Bomb was dropped.
In 1953 he founded City Lights Bookstore with Peter D. Martin. His
publication of Allen Ginsberg's Howl
in 1956 led to his arrest on obscenity charges. He was acquitted,
and this landmark First Amendment case was the first of the Beat
Movement to establish a legal precedent.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ferlinghetti's A Coney
Island of the Mind was the most popular poetry book in the
United States. Today there are nearly one million copies in print.
Ferlinghetti is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and he has just published a new book-length epic poem, Americus (Book One), New