Coney Island of the Mind

Coney Island of the Mind

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by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
     
 

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti published A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND, his most celebrated collection, in 1955 at the height of the Beat Generation. He's still active with City Lights, his San Francisco bookstore and publishing house, and with poetry (one of his recent poems appears in The Best American Poetry 1999). This new recording presents Ferlinghetti reading the 29… See more details below

Overview

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti published A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND, his most celebrated collection, in 1955 at the height of the Beat Generation. He's still active with City Lights, his San Francisco bookstore and publishing house, and with poetry (one of his recent poems appears in The Best American Poetry 1999). This new recording presents Ferlinghetti reading the 29 sections of the title work and five other poems also from the original collection, accompanied by music composed by Dana Colley, saxophonist of the boho-rock band Morphine. From poem to poem, Ferlinghetti varies his voice, using a conspiratorial whisper or a conversational singsong or a comic, exaggerated New York accent, while Colley's music stays simultaneously evocative and unobtrusive: the sax and organ base adds a film noir atmosphere but never competes with the poetry. Literature majors will recognize poems such as "Constantly risking absurdity" and "In Goya's greatest scenes" and be intrigued by Ferlinghetti's choice of voicings; everyone will hear compositions with comic insight and unexpected twists of beauty.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tom Schulte
Jim Sampas and producer extraordinaire David Greenberg (Duplex Planet) got together to right an unforgivable wrong in the beat poet discography. Before this release, there was no complete CD album of Ferlinghetti's 30-poem cycle, The Coney Island of the Mind. Musical accompaniment to the beat bard's spoken word is the surviving members of Morphine. Dana Colley is on the horns, and Billy Conway is on drums accompany the master wordsmith, with other musicians. Each piece has its own backing music, seeking affinity with its mood. Ferlinghetti similarly varies his voice for each short poem. At once he is a self-assured New "Yawker," then an austere commentator with a papery voice. It is natural to contrast Ferlinghetti's Coney Island with Ginsberg's Howl. Ferlinghetti's signature piece is also a perfect example of the beat literature. It is a union of sexual imagery and introspection into the soul of youthful America. Where Ginsberg is an evangelist, a visionary for his cause, Ferlinghetti effortlessly and without drama summons up his observations. While Ginsberg views a soulless and decadent America from a tenement rooftop, Ferlinghetti sees as far from a bus stop, from an afternoon delight in a Central Park bush. Five other pieces follow the complete cycle.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/14/1999
Label:
Rykodisc
UPC:
0014431040825
catalogNumber:
10408
Rank:
370197

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 1
  2. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 2
  3. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 3
  4. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 4
  5. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 5
  6. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 6
  7. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 7
  8. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 8
  9. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 9
  10. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 10
  11. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 11
  12. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 12
  13. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 13
  14. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 14
  15. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 15
  16. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 16
  17. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 17
  18. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 18
  19. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 19
  20. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 20
  21. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 21
  22. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 22
  23. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 23
  24. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 24
  25. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 25
  26. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 26
  27. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 27
  28. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 28
  29. A Coney Island of the Mind, Pt. 29
  30. I Am Waiting
  31. Autobiography
  32. Dog
  33. Christ Climbed Down
  34. #11

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