Lawrence Ferlinghetti quotes:

  • Southern California, where the American Dream came too true.

  • Constantly risking absurdity and death whenever he performs above the heads of his audience, the poet, like an acrobat, climbs on rhyme to a high wire of his own making.

  • In Plato's republic, poets were considered subversive, a danger to the republic. I kind of relish that role. So I see my present role as a gadfly, to use my soapbox to promote my various ideas and obsesions.

  • And the Blue Angels are coming back to scare the local population. I remember seeing old Vietnamese women ducking under the benches in Washington Square; they thought they were back in the war.

  • Anyone who saw Nagasaki would suddenly realize that they'd been kept in the dark by the United States government as to what atomic bombs can do.

  • I'm reading a book about Romaine Brooks, a wonderful painter from early in the last century.

  • The future of publishing lies with the small and medium-sized presses, because the big publishers in New York are all part of huge conglomerates.

  • Freedom of speech is always under attack by Fascist mentality, which exists in all parts of the world, unfortunately.

  • Don't patronize the chain bookstores. Every time I see some author scheduled to read and sign his books at a chain bookstore, I feel like telling him he's stabbing the independent bookstores in the back.

  • This is all very nice, because the ideas that Jack and the Beat generation stood for are needed today more than ever. But I'm not so interested in nostalgia. I'm interested in the future.

  • It's the story of an American who wants to become a dictator and goes to Europe with a sidekick to interview various Fascists to find out how the Nazis and Mussolini got into power.

  • Recipe For Happiness Khaborovsk Or Anyplace' One grand boulevard with trees with one grand cafe in sun with strong black coffee in very small cups. One not necessarily very beautiful man or woman who loves you. One fine day.

  • To say one is revolutionary is a little like saying one is a Zen Buddhist - if you say you are, you probably aren't.

  • If you're too open-minded; your brains will fall out.

  • T.S. Eliot's influence was enormous on my generation. Much more than Ezra Pound. I actually had to put T.S. Eliot books out of the house because my poetry was so influenced. Everything I wrote sounded like Eliot.

  • I'd ban all automobiles from the central part of the city. You see, the automobile was just a passing fad. It's got to go. It's got to go a long way from here.

  • I think if there's a great depression there might be some hope.

  • I am waiting for them to prove that God is really American.

  • Everything the Beats stood for was the opposite of the dominant culture today.

  • The paintings may communicate even better because people are lazy and they can look at a painting with less effort than they can read a poem.

  • [in the true mad north] of introspection,where 'falcons of the inner eye'dive and die, glimpsing in their dying fall, all life's memory of existence.

  • We were just a one-room bookstore; we didn't have any money for lawyers.

  • Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.

  • It's much easier to consume the visual image than to read something.

  • the poet like an acrobat climbs on rime to a high wire of his own making.

  • See it was like this when we waltz into this place. A couple of papish cats is doing an Aztec two-step And I says Dad let's cut but then this dame comes up behind me see and says you and me could really exist Wow I says Only the next day she has bad teeth and really hates poetry.

  • We have to raise the consciousness; the only way poets can change the world is to raise the consciousness of the general populace.

  • Our government is a bird with two right wings... They're devoted to the perpetuation & spread of corporate capitalism.

  • Let us arise and go nowto the Isle of Manisfreeand live the true blue simple lifeof wisdom and wondermentwhere all things growstraight upaslant and singingin the yellow sunpoppies out of cowpodsthinking angels out of turds.I must arise and go nowto the Isle of Manisfreeway up behind the broken wordsand woods of Arcady."

  • In Goya's greatest scenes we seem to see the people of the world exactly at the moment when they first attained the title of 'suffering humanity

  • No, I didn't become disenchanted. I just couldn't paint like them.

  • These are international criminals, and the spineless Democrats are doing nothing about it.

  • A lot of manuscripts that come in, you wonder by what outrageous fantasy the author believes that this should be pressed into print.

  • Almost every truly creative being alienated & expatriated in his own country

  • As I get older I perceive Life has its tail in its mouth.

  • Beauty stands and waits with gravity to start her death-defying leap

  • Communism wasn't a word that I thought of when I went to Cuba. The original Fidelistas were not Communists. They were graduate students at the university and law students. After the Fidelistas took over, they went to Washington and tried to get support from the U.S. government, which turned them down. They were in a desperate political and economic situation, so they took the offer from the Soviet Union. Communism was a matter of necessity.

  • Don't bow down to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces.

  • For even bad poetry has relevance for what it does not say for what it leaves out.

  • I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder

  • I am waiting for the lost music to sound again in a new rebirth of wonder.

  • I am waiting for the war to be fought which will make the world safe for anarchy

  • I arrived in San Francisco in January 1951. After the Second World War, the population was so uprooted. Soldiers came back home for brief periods and took off again. So the population was very fluid, and suddenly it was as if the continent tilted west. The whole population slid west. It took 10 years for America to coalesce into a new culture. And the new culture happened in San Francisco, not New York.

  • I certainly was surprised to be named Poet Laureate of this far-out city on the left side of the world, and I gratefully accept, for as I told the Mayor, "How could I refuse?" I'd rather be Poet Laureate of San Francisco than anywhere because this city has always been a poetic center, a frontier for free poetic life, with perhaps more poets and more poetry readers than any city in the world.

  • I feel there is an angel in me' she'd say 'whom I am constantly shocking

  • I have a feeling I'm falling on rare occasions but most of the time I have my feet on the ground I can't help it if the ground itself is falling.

  • I once started out to walk around the world but ended up in Brooklyn, that Bridge was too much for me.

  • If you would be a poet, write living newspapers. Be a reporter from outer space, filing dispatches to some supreme managing editor who believes in full disclosure and has a low tolerance for bullshit.

  • If you're going to be a writer you should sit down and write in the morning, and keep it up all day, every day. Charles Bukowski, no matter how drunk he got the night before or no matter how hungover he was, the next morning he was at his typewriter. Every morning. Holidays, too. He'd have a bottle of whiskey with him to wake up with, and that's what he believed. That's the way you became a writer: by writing. When you weren't writing, you weren't a writer.

  • Invent a new language anyone can understand.

  • Make your mind learn its way around the heart.

  • My country tears of thee.

  • Paperbacks weren't considered real books in the book trade. Up till then it was just murder mysteries, potboilers, 25-cent pocket books sold in newsstands. When the New York publishers started publishing quality paperbacks, there was no place to buy them.

  • Poetry is a naked woman, a naked man, and the distance between them.

  • Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations.

  • Poetry must be capable of answering the challenge of apocalytpic times, even if this means sounding apocaltypic.

  • Poets, come out of your closets, Open your windows, open your doors, You have been holed up too long in your closed worlds... Poetry should transport the public/to higher places/than other wheels can carry it...

  • The real literary editors have mostly been fired. Those that remain are all 'bottom line' editors; everything depends on the money.

  • The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

  • The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind some people dying all the time or maybe only starving some of the time which isn't half so bad if it isn't you.

  • There is an ecstatic mechanism in birds that makes them fly upwards in spite of worms.

  • They were looking for a stable, but we didn't have one. In fact, we weren't very stable ourselves.

  • We have seen the best minds of our generation destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.

  • We'd like to just write nothing but lyric poetry. The trouble is, the individual is going along intent on his own personal gratifications and love affairs and financial affairs and everything else. But loping alongside him is this fascist lout who keeps trying to take over. And if you keep ignoring him, he gets bigger and bigger, so every once in a while the free individual has to turn away from his private pursuits and give this fascist lout a few clouts, and beat him down to size.

  • Well, I didn't know how to draw very well back then, in the '40s and '50s.

  • When I was a boy I was my father.

  • When you're young, everything seems like a romance. At 96, I can still feel romantic about publishing young unknown writers.

  • You can publish a poem you think is a very important poem, and you don't hear a word from anyone. You can publish a book of poetry by dropping it off a cliff and waiting to hear an echo. Quite often, you'll never hear a thing. So doing that, using older work, puts it in a context, and that sort of forces the reader to realize what its importance is-if it has any. Everything needs a context. You're not going to recognize a poet unless you have a context.