Light Rafts for Flagging Spirits | Vol 17

"Poetry, the last lighthouse in rising seas." —Lawrence Ferlinghetti A celebration of the great man, who passed this week at age 101, and all things poetic, wonder-filled.

This week, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, author, publisher, painter, activist, champion of free speech, San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate, iconoclast, and the “spiritual father” of the Beat poetry movement, left this world. He was 101.

And I loved him madly.

Read tributes to Mr. Ferlinghetti in the New York Times, the San Francisco Gate, The Nation, and this photo essay from KQED.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti reads his “Last Prayer” during The Last Waltz

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder | via Prime Video

This 2013 documentary about the great radical man’s life is a delight for the senses and the spirit. I’ve watched it so many times over the years I’ve lost count.

Watch the documentary in its entirety HERE.

Share Look for the Light

Poetry in Motion: The 1982 Documentary Film | Canada

Nearly 40 years ago, the Canadian documentary filmmaker Ron Mann (perhaps best known for his later film Comic Book Confidential) made this groundbreaking film about some of the leading Beat, avant-garde, minimalist, projectionist poets in the world at the time. It is the ultimate primer for contemporary poetry. And while Mr. Ferlinghetti does not appear in the film, many of his friends, collaborators, and co-conspirators do. Among them Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, William S. Burroughs, Amiri Bakara, Anne Waldman, Diane Di Prima, Ntozake Shange, Michael Ondaatje, Gary Snyder, and Tom Waits.

By the time I make Jersey

You'll be in heaven

In a pretty blue shoe box I know

So sing a song of ten grand

With a pocket full of dough

And I can't take you to Baltimore

Wake God up in Heaven

Have him look down below

There's a little lost angel

Blooming in the snow

— “Smuggler’s Waltz/Bronx Lullabye” by Tom Waits

Bukowski kvetching poetically in Poetry in Motion

Marie Howe: “The Singularity” (for Kelley) | New York City

More about the courageous as she is lovely poet and professor Marie Howe HERE.


Eavan Boland: Five Poems read at the AAA&S | Cambridge, Mass.

More about the legendary Irish poet and professor, Eavan Boland, who we lost in April 2020, HERE.

Jericho Brown: “Duplex” and “The Tradition” | Georgia

More about the marvelous Professor Brown, director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University and winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, HERE.

Mary Oliver: “Night and the River” | Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Read more about one of the greatest American bards of the 20th and 21st centuries, Ms. Oliver, who left this side of the veil in 2019, HERE.

Pádraig Ó Tuama: “How to Be Alone” | Northern Ireland

Learn more about magical, marvelous Pádraig, poet, author, peacemaker, and host of On Being’s poetry podcast, HERE.

Harry Baker: “A Lockdown Poem” | United Kingdom

Learn more about Harry, poet, author, TED-talker, and the world’s youngest Poetry World Slam Champion in 2012, HERE.

Share Look for the Light

Denise Levertov: Six Poems read at the Lannan Foundation, ‘93 | LA

Learn more about the poet, who the world lost to lymphoma in 1997 when she was just 74, HERE.

June Jordan: “Poem for a Young Poet” | Pennsylvania

Learn more about Ms. Jordan, the Jamaican-American, queer poet, essayist, teacher, and activist who died of breast cancer at home in Berkeley in 2002 when she was only 65 years old, HERE.

David Whyte: “A Seeming Stillness” | Pacific Northwest

Learn more about the Anglo-Irish poet-philosopher Mr. Whyte HERE and watch his oft-broadcast dispatches on Facebook HERE.

Saeed Jones: “Blue Prelude” | New York City

Learn more about the ferociously forthright, transcendently honest poet, author, and essayist Mr. Jones HERE.

Seamus Heaney at Faber & Faber reading “Scaffolding” | New York City

This precious soul will never not be my most favorite poet. Here is the Nobel Prize-winning Mr. Heaney, who celebrated his fifth anniversary in The More (as if time and space have anything to do with where he is now) last year, HERE.

Speaking of poets … RIVES on the Artist Care & Feeding Podcast

Last week and the week before, Kaitlyn, Mark, and I had the pleasure of welcoming my new friend Rives—poet, storyteller, author, speaker, frequent TED presenter, event host, paper engineer, night owl activist who and since 2013 has been curator of the Museum of Four O'Clock in the Morning, and my co-conspirator on a new community venture, Nighthawks Hang, to the show. He is honestly one of the most fascinating (and mysterious) people I’ve ever met. And man, is he good with the words.

Listen to our conversation with Rives, parts I and II (part III is coming in the next weeks) below. And learn more about Rives HERE, HERE, and HERE.

If you felt like sharing this dispatch or the Look for the Light site with friends or showing it some love on the socials, I’d be much obliged.

Thank you for reading. #LuxInTenebrisLucet

Share Look for the Light