Jack Foley’s essay on Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “The Splendid Life of the World,” appeared in both “Poetry Flash” and in Jack’s book, “O Powerful Western Star.” On today’s show, continuing his celebration of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack will read selections from the essay. The essay begins,
“I gave it to my students and they adored it. I wanted them to like it. But they adored it.” Thus a teacher friend of mine on Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “A Coney Island of the Mind,” first published in 1958 and still in print. Ferlinghetti himself remarks that poets often complain about his work’s clarity: “It isn’t opaque enough, it’s too easy to understand.” I answered that people were mixing him up with another poet. They were expecting him to be Ezra Pound, and he wasn’t Ezra Pound; he was Lawrence Ferlinghetti. But of course one may ask: Who is Lawrence Ferlinghetti?