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New Directions Publishing, Aug 30, 2005 - Poetry - 90 pages
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Lawrence Ferlinghetti lights out for the territories with Book I of his own born-in-the-U.S.A. epic, Americus.

Describing Americus as "part documentary, part public pillow-talk, part personal epica descant, a canto unsung, a banal history, a true fiction, lyric and political," Ferlinghetti combines "universal texts, snatches of song, words or phrases, murmuring of love or hate, from Lotte Lenya to the latest soul singer, sayings and shibboleths from Yogi Berra to the National Anthem, the Gettysburg Address or the Ginsberg Address, that haunt our nocturnal imagination." This book is a wake-up call that breaks new ground in the grand tradition of Whitman, W.C. Williams, Charles Olson, and Ezra Pound, as Ferlinghetti cruises our literary and political landscapes, past and present, to create an autobiography of American consciousness.

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Americus: book I

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You weren't expecting Ferlinghetti to be subtle, were you? This evocation of "America the greatest experiment on earth" won't be bedtime reading at the White House, but it's certainly entertaining. Ferlinghetti might hit some old targets, but he is as astute and energized as ever. Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born Lawrence Monsanto Ferling in Yonkers, New York on March 24, 1919. He received a B. A. from the University of North Carolina, a M. A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D from the Sorbonne. During World War II, he served in the U. S. Naval Reserve and was sent to Nagasaki shortly after it was bombed. In 1953, he 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 Publishing, which became known as the heart of the "Beat" movement. Ferlinghetti is the author of more than thirty books of poetry including Time of Useful Consciousness, Poetry as Insurgent Art, How to Paint Sunlight, A Far Rockaway of the Heart, Over All the Obscene Boundaries: European Poems and Transitions, Who Are We Now?, The Secret Meaning of Things, and A Coney Island of the Mind. He is also the author of more than eight plays and of the novels Love in the Days of Rage and Her. He has translated the work of a number of poets including Nicanor Parra, Jacques Prevert, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. He received 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." He was named the first poet laureate of San Francisco in 1998. He writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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