Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (March 24, 1919—Feb. 22, 2021) born in Yonkers, NY was an American poet, painter, social activist, and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, CA. Ferlinghetti is best known for his first collection of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), which has been translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies. Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind continues to be one of the most popular poetry books in the U.S more than 60 years later.

Following service in the U.S. Navy throughout World War II, Ferlinghetti earned a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University in 1947. From Columbia, he went to Paris to continue his studies and earned a doctoral degree in comparative literature with a dissertation on the city as a symbol in modern poetry.

As the owner of the City Lights bookstore, Ferlinghetti was arrested for publishing Allen Ginsberg's Howl in 1956, which resulted in a lengthy First Amendment trial.

In his latter years he was a force in North Beach, creating community by connecting with literary icons as well as the local homeless population.