A few years back I was stopped cold when I learned that Maria Callas had died. I might even have sobbed a bit. Today I had a similar reaction when I read that Lawrence Ferlinghetti had died.
I recently was reminded that not everyone shared many of the experiences I mention on this weblog. Specifically visiting City Lights Bookstore and the entire San Francisco experience I enjoyed back in the 1960s. Just today I was pointed towards an excellent introduction to City Lights and San Francisco available on YouTube, This is part 3 and it really takes me back to my college days, Jack Hirshman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the City Lights Bookstore.
I grew up in the 1950s, in San Diego, went to a Los Angeles university in the 1960s, and am proud to admit that my most memorable professor was Jack Hirshman. Add Hirshman to an early (and frequent) exposure to James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and S. I. Hayakawa, and it isn’t too much of a stretch to learn that my first young-adult visit to a famous landmark in San Francisco was not Carol Doda, but rather the City Lights Bookstore.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a personal local favorite. Back when I could only afford to nurse a single cup of coffee until the wee hours (ten cents a cup), I actually owned at least two volumes of Ferlinghetti’s poetry. Jack Hirshman was honored as Poet Laureaate of San Francisco and before that Lawrence Ferlighetti held the honor.
Does your town or city have a Port Laureate?