Lawrence Ferlinghetti: December 12, 1956

The Poetry Center presents Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading from his book A Coney Island of the Mind. This event also featured poet Philip Whalen.

Originally Recorded By
The Poetry Center
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Association, San Francisco
Total Run Time
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  • Ferlinghetti mentions Henry Miller's book "Into the Night Life" and that he will read from his book "A Coney Island of the Mind" (0:03)
  • "Constantly risking absurdity and death..." (00:31)
  • Remarks that there should be "a little white space between poems" when poems are "piled right on top of the other" (2:06)
  • "Sailing thru the straits of Demos..." (2:19)
  • Remarks on attending a Morris Graves exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, which was the inspiration for writing the next poem (4:39)
  • "The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves..." (5:12)
  • Remarks on "A Coney Island of the Mind" and its structure (7:37)
  • "In Goya's greatest scenes we seem to see..." (8:07)
  • "In a surrealist year of sandwichmen and sunbathers..." (10:15)
  • "Not like Dante discovering a commedia" (11:49)
  • Remarks on his "name-dropping" in the book (12:48)
  • "Kafka's Castle stands above the world..." (13:10)
  • "They were putting up a statue..." (14:23)
  • Remarks that the next poem is an imitation of Lord Buckley (16:48)
  • "Sometime during eternity some guys show up..." (17:15)
  • "See it was like this when..." (20:14)
  • "What could she say to the fantastic foolybear..." (21:24)
  • "Frightened by the sound of my own voice..." (22:14)
  • "In woods where many rivers run..." (23:46)
  • "I have not lain with beauty all my life..." (24:45)
  • Static (26:11)
  • Remarks that he will read two more from "A Coney Island of the Mind" and then will perform a Christmas carol (26:15)
  • "The pennycandystore beyond the El..." (26:45)
  • "The Long Street" (27:52)
  • Remarks that the next poem is a response to T. S. Eliot's "The Cultivation of Christmas Trees" (31:47)
  • "Christ Climbed Down" (32:10)

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