Poetry News

NYT Reviews Lawrence Ferlinghetti Documentary

By Harriet Staff


Over at the New York Times, Daniel M Gold has reviewed Christopher Felver's documentary on "poet, publisher, activist and San Francisco eminence" Lawrence Ferlinghettti.

The film traces his life from circumstances that Mr. Ferlinghetti, 93, genially recalls as “right out of Dickens”: born in Yonkers, he was effectively orphaned and lived with his Aunt Emily in France before moving to Bronxville, N.Y., where Emily was a governess for a wealthy family.

She abruptly ran off when Lawrence was 7, so the family raised him. After serving in the Navy in World War II, he found his way to San Francisco, where he became a founder of City Lights Bookstore in 1953. Indeed, as big a bouquet as the film is to Mr. Ferlinghetti, it is also a mash note to City Lights, a cultural touchstone and North Beach landmark.

Mr. Felver deftly blends old news clips and readings with interviews of writers and artists, among them Billy Collins and Dave Eggers, to define Mr. Ferlinghetti’s place in the pantheon of American letters. This biography is often effusive in its praise, but some lives and legacies were meant for a tribute.

The documentary, appropriately called "Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder," is playing in a few select theaters through April 13.

Originally Published: February 25th, 2013