“In some ways what I really did was mind the store,” he told The Guardian in 2006. “When I arrived in San Francisco in 1951 I was wearing a beret. If anything I was the last of the bohemians rather than the first of the Beats.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti died on February 22, 2021, age 101. Certain details of his fruitful life seize me:
— Fetched off to Strasbourg, France in early childhood, where he learned French, which he spoke before English.
— Degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (my alma mater), attracted there by his taste for Thomas Wolfe.
— Master’s thesis on Ruskin and Turner at Columbia University, which fostered a lifelong love of painting. Then a doctorate in comparative literature from the Sorbonne.
Ferlinghetti called “Little Boy,” the species of memoir that he published In 2019, “an experimental novel” about “an imaginary me.”
(Jesse McKinley, “Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poet Who Nurtured the Beats, Dies at 101,” NYTimes, 2-23-21)
He minded the store!
(c) 2021 JMN