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Poetry as Insurgent Art
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2007
More bon mots from the old bard of San Francisco. To this day Ferlinghetti gets confused for a Beat poet. He is in fact a Bohemian poet and artist who only published the Beats. In this book his words are few but to the point. You want to keep this in your back pocket at all times. Who knows when you're gonna need some emergency wisdom!? He is one of the best poets alive and the title of Lawrence of America is well-earned for a man who single-handedly changed the literary landscape of this country. Thank you Lawrence! May the lights of all the cities of the world shine upon you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2014
One of our generation's great poets (actually a few of our generations, as the man is 95 now), that is, one who lifts his voice to all humankind with words of vision--if not true spiritual vision (for who but Christ gives that?), then vision of the use of the art in such times as are upon us presently. I put it like this, "The burden of Art, especially Poetry, is the establishment - and defense - of Human reality." But I like Ferlinghetti's many pithy sayings and profound insights into the art, in *Poetry As Insurgent Art* - at least as much as my own; here are just a few of his:

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic.

If you call yourself a poet, sing it, don't state it.

Bring together again the telling of a tale and the living voice.

Be a teller of great tales, even the darkest.

Don't pander, especially not to audiences, readers, editors, or publishers.

Why listen to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces?

Don't put down the scholastics who say a poem should have wholeness, harmony, radiance, truth, beauty, goodness.

Don't ever believe poetry is irrelevant in dark times.

What are poets for, in such an age? What is the use of poetry?

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

Your life is your poetry. If you have no heart, you'll write lifeless poetry.

Poetry is the last lighthouse in rising seas.

[End Ferlinghetti]
_________

Needless to say, his little gem of a book is HIGHLY recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2008
Ferlinghetti's little book is full of big inspiration. It is a call to take poetry off the page and live the words. Buy extra copies for your friends and loves, for this is essential reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2008
This great little book - small enough to carry in one's back pocket, like a New Testament or the Little Red Book of Chairman Mao - is my new Manifesto. "Poetry deconstructs power. Absolute poetry deconstructs absolutely." Happy deconstructing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2013
This book is made of pure inspiration. When I am feeling down and out and uninspired I can pick up this book and read a few pages and it truly gives me a "rebirth of wonder." This great book is like a jolt of life straight to the soul. If you are shopping and having any sort of trepidation about whether or not to buy this book BUY IT! You won't regret it. You will be reading and quoting from this book for the rest of your life. 'Poetry as Insurent Art' is a modern masterpiece. Any time you are feeling drained of inspiration or simply down-and-out and depressed just read a few pages of this book and you'll be cured. It will give you a much needed shot of life. This is one of the few truly great books of poetry. I swear by this book, this masterpiece, this generator of inspiration.
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on December 21, 2011
The masters of power (masters of nothing else) have seized the word "Insurgent" to use in Iraq because they wouldn't want us ordinary folk to see the native fighters as freedom fighters or as revolutionaries. Ferlinghetti's slim hardback is a call for peaceful, nonviolent change through poetry, which acts as restorer of the free and original imagination that can lead to new ways of seeing the world and living. He calls for a poetry of world wide vision that shines like the sun everywhere, but lives through the concrete. He calls for a poetry that has a spiritual dimension, that stands before the great mystery, but questions all ideologies and creeds. He wants not spoken word but singing word, he wants poetry out of Starbucks and beyond worrying about bucks, poetry on the streets and in the pool halls and kitchens with the pots and pans. He wants poetry that speaks to the people, and thus he includes in the volume his two populist manifestos that first appeared in newspapers. We live in a time of crisis, and poets better speak up and not listen to the doom and gloomers who seek to dismiss poetry by reducing it to your singular ego and its problems.
He says it all beautifully, in lines of poetic prose often full of allusions, lines that just about anybody can understand. I may be wrong, but to me he seems to seek what Kerouac sought in his book length poem, Mexico City Choruses, a re-imagined world that lives in the moment between the reader and the poem. How that re-imagining is then carried into the world is not explained, and left to the individual. There are surrealist overtones to this work. Ferlinghetti lived in France and got a PhD there. The surrealists were great at opening up the world to the deep song that transcended rationality, but when they took their imaginings into the actual world, the world we live in, they just became fellow travelers of the grey Marxists who have no imaginations at all.
Can poets walk through walls and show others how to walk through walls? In the imagination, yes; in the shared public world of desks and tress that we live in, no, not so far anyway. As in At the Heart poets can point directions but do not, and perhaps should not, provide an exact map.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2012
Ferlinghetti leads with powerful words and images, calling poets and humans in general to live life fully and engaged. I have used much of this in my writing classes. Good advice, and poetry, for anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2011
No whimps please. This mature and professional tour de force, details the good and bad and the ugly efforts to produce a poem .......by we Americans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
Awesome. Wish I read it in the sixties. It was my coming-of-age but I only read Kerouac. Onward to HOWL and Ginsberg.
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on November 10, 2014
What a great little book from one of the beat poets. It has a nice hardback cover. I've given it as a gift a number of times and the receivers have enjoyed it.
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