Poetry News

Ferlinghetti and Snyder, Live at Budak, er, Fugazi

By Harriet Staff

Reluctant "Beat" legends Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder, 92 and 81 years old respectively, came together for a reading at Club Fugazi in North Beach, CA. This SF Gate post gives us some details.

Both men, who eschewed the term "beat" so much that Snyder once refused to be included in an anthology with the word in the title, made the crowd gasp, laugh and applaud with their still avant-garde poems about work, love, death, politics and the never-ending quest for wisdom.

"I got identified with beat poets by publishing them," said Ferlinghetti, co-founder of City Lights Bookstore in an interview.

Most famous was Allen Ginsberg's "Howl."

"But my poetics are totally different," said Ferlinghetti. Still living in San Francisco, he is writing a new book of poetry called "Time of Useful Consciousness" and paints in a studio at the Hunters Point Shipyard four days a week.

The Club Fugazi reading was a benefit for the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, which holds the nation's largest collection of poetry audio and video archives and was among the first places to give Ferlinghetti and Snyder paid gigs.

Ferlinghetti read his first poem in public in the 1950s at Club Fugazi, sharing the bill with fan dancer Sally Rand.

Before each poet took the stage Monday, the audience watched film clips from the 1960s of Snyder discussing his poetic coyote character, and Ferlinghetti reading his poems on a baseball diamond and walking his dog Homer through North Beach.

Make the jump for more, namely some of the newer poems each poet read. Oh, that's not enough Beats for you? Ok. Go here, then, and watch this short film on Herbert Huncke and Gregory Corso.

Originally Published: November 10th, 2011