Activist, poet and painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, has written a new book of poems, his first since 2007’s “Poetry as Insurgent Art.”
Titled “Time of Useful Consciousness,” an aeronautical term for the period between the moment you run out of oxygen and the time you cease to be able to function, the new book has been described by the author as "a fragmented recording of the American stream-of-consciousness, always westward streaming...” Michael Silverblatt will be interviewing Ferlinghetti on his weekly radio show on KCRW-FM (89.9), "Bookworm," at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
The 93-year-old’s life reads like a work of fiction. His father died before he was born and his
mother was committed to an asylum, leaving him to be raised by a French aunt. He served in
World War II during the Normandy invasion and graduated from Columbia and the Sorbonne before moving west, where he was an integral part of the Beat Generation. Although best known for his 1958 collection of poems, “A Coney Island of the Mind,” he gained notoriety for publishing
Allen Ginsberg’s Howl" in addition to works by Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac,
William S. Burroughs and political books by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.