In 1953, Lawrence Ferlinghetti settled with his wife in San Francisco. A recent graduate of the Sorbonne in France, where he obtained his doctorate, Ferlinghetti wrote his thesis on the founding father of French Symbolism, Charles Baudelaire. Steeped indelibly in the café culture & the art he grew to love in his Parisian years, he found San Francisco’s independent spirit & little-known status as fertile ground for literary bohemians & intellectuals his new home; as it echoed the freedom and fancy of France. One day on an everyman’s walk through San Francisco’s steep & hilly streets, he saw a man hanging up a sign on a storefront outside announcing the opening of an entirely paperback bookstore—the first of its time. The man he met was Peter Martin, and soon after, Ferlinghetti bought into the business—seeing a forest of oaks in this freshly-fallen acorn. Before long, Ferlinghetti began to acquaint himself with the west-coast poets he knew were also neighborhood townies, and came under the tutelage of poets Kenneth Rexroth & Kenneth Patchen, subsequently meeting Robert Duncan & others. His arrival in San Francisco’s consummate culmination was the penning of the poems he would publish in 1955 in the release entitled “Pictures of the Gone World,” setting a precedent for alternative publications whose dissident tenacity & unrelenting honesty would penetrate America’s cultural consciousness forever.
We are featuring many of our most important Ferlinghetti offerings this month in the “Featured Items” section of our site! Along with special editions of his well-known canonized classics, we have sleeper masterpieces like 1980’s Mule Mountain Dreams & 1981’s super limited edition A Trip to Italy & France among other essential collectibles!