Starting From San Francisco, first published in 1961, is the third collection of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poetry.
The long poems of Starting From San Francisco present a new, quieter, more profound aspect of the poet. His original lyricism and caustic humor have been confronted, as it were, with the real presence of evil and death. "Starting from Paumanok... I strike up for a New World" wrote Walt Whitman in 1860. Starting from San Francisco, a hundred years later, Ferlinghetti roved back across the country (this "cradle we rocked out of") then turned south of the border to visionary conclusions in that lost horizon symbolized by Machu Picchu, the Inca city the Spaniards never found. These poems of voyage are autobiographical in that they grew out of Ferlinghetti’s travels in South America and Europe, but there are also poems on other themes, including several long "broadsides," which the author identifies as "satirical tirades––poetry admittedly corrupted by the political, itself irradiated by the Thing it attacks." Commenting on this paperbook edition, to which two important poems, "Berlin" and "The Situation in The West" have been added, Ferlinghetti wrote: "These poems represent to me a kind of halfway house in the ascent of a mountain I hardly knew existed until I stopped and looked back at the flatlands below. Like a Zen fool lost in the woods who laughs and lies face down on the earth to find his way."
|Publisher:||New Directions Publishing Corporation|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
In 1953 Lawrence Ferlinghetti cofounded City Lights, the first paperback bookstore in the United States, a Mecca for millions. His Coney Island of the Mind is one of the best-selling volumes of poetry by any living American poet. Born in Yonkers, New York, in 1919, Ferlinghetti has received the Robert Frost Memorial Medal and the first Literarian Award of the National Book Foundation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Starting from San Francisco is one of Ferlinghetti's more read books behind Coney Island and probably his worst-received by critics and fans alike. His cut-up style is almost entirely gone, making room for more general free-verse (intended to flow better when spoken to accompanied jazz--although his all his poems are pretty much intended for jazz-readings, Uncle Lawrence seems to stress it with these)...and I admit, some of the poems contain a few bumps, especially early on: "chorus" lines get a little too repetitive in poems like "New York--Albany" and especially "Big Fat Hairy Vision of Evil" (which ends quite well once past the "evil evil evil evil evil evil evil" [exaggeration]), and two of the more political pieces haven't aged so well but aren't bad ("Tentative Description of a Dinner to Promote the Impeachment of President Eisenhower" and "One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro"), but hey! IT CONTAINS "THE GREAT CHINESE DRAGON"!!!!!!111!!11!!!11111111The entire book is worth a purchase for containing that one poem. All alone. It's that good. And long. On the surface, similar to Ginsberg's "Howl," but golly gee willickers, these "breaths" are just too dang long!Otherwise I'd post it.The book contains 16 poems over 64 pages. It's pretty short, but the poems somewhat long for Uncle Lawrence. Some notable classics include but are not limited to: "The Situation in the West, Followed by a Holy Proposal," "Berlin," "Special Clearance Sale of Famous Masterpieces," "Overpopulation," the title poem, and "He," his little ditty for Ginsberg, which, shockingly enough, contains the word "asshole."F.V.: 80% (possibly 75--I go too easy on pomes, 'specially from any Beat-related figure).