A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ferlinghetti would probably have to be classified as the gentlest of the Beat writers. Despite forays into social commentary, this book is most notable for its warm humor and occasionally old-fashioned lyricism, neither of them attributes commonly associated with the Beat movement. Both are welcome, especially the humor. “Dove sta amore” just demands to be set to music, preferably Italian romantic music. “Dog” is an incredibly sweet piece that will appeal to any animal lover. Elsewhere, Ferlinghetti successfully aims a bit higher. “I Am Waiting” channels Whitman quite well and “Autobiography” contains some sharp personal insights. True, there are few lines that match Ginsberg’s uncanny power or Corso’s aching, gem-like beauty. The overall effect is, however, powerful in its own quiet, smiling way. This book richly deserves its continuing popularity.

 

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