Monday, September 17, 2007

Aging Passion

The world ages.

Talia loaned me Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. This is my first taste of Ferlinghetti. The copy she loaned me is 50 years old, and I can feel it. Back then it cost $1.00. The Beat flavor is unmistakable. There’s a photo on the back of the book, Ferlinghetti at 38. So he must be around 88 now. I found a recent photo of him. He is rounder. He has white hair. I want to read something recent that he has written, to see how his insides have changed. The heavy alliteration from the fifties drives me crazy, as do the rhythms, but still, I like what he has to say. I’m reminded of what Tom’s jazz improvisation prof told him last week after his first solo, “That was just amazing, for the thirties.” No, no, I’m not dissing on Ferlinghetti, just remarking on the passing of time. I want that passion, but not that old style.

6 comments:

Talia said...

Next time I'm going to give you his Insurgent Art Book which he has updated over and over throughout the years. The edition I have actually mentions the Iraq War, which is a shame isn't it? I like the rhythms of the poetry, but I tend to long for things that have gone out of style...but remember that when he wrote that, people weren't writing like that. I'm amazed every time I read it, at how that book really changed a lot about poetry. I first read it when I was 15 and I love it just as much. Poets and Writers had him on the cover earlier this year...I'll have to dig that up for you to.

Charmi said...

Yes, dig that stuff up for me. I'm interested. I loved the stuff from your blog.

Mark said...

Ferlinghetti is great, I have "Coney Island of the Mind" as well. I highly recommend picking up the CD "Poetry Readings In The Cellar" which features recordings of Ferlinghetti and Kenneth Rexroth (I actually bought it for Rexroth in the first place). They're public readings done with a jazz accompaniment.

Charmi said...

Mark, I'm starting to get a little more into the book now. I noticed the jazz recordings and am going to see if I can pick them up from itunes. My son studies jazz at Western Michigan and we talked a little bit about how phrasing and note emphasis has changed. Heavy phrasing (in the modern jazz world) has switched to something much more flowing, one thing becomes the next thing. Ferlinghetti has a piece like that at the very end of Coney Island, No. 29, which I really enjoyed.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mark said...

The particular disc I mentioned isn't on iTunes. Here's a link to it on Amazon, just for reference:

http://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Readings-Cellar-Kenneth-Rexroth/dp/B00062139E

Charmi said...

Thanks for the link, Mark. Feel free to join us tomorrow evening at the Bucket if you're so inclined. It's always nice to have fresh voices.