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Lawerence Ferlinghetti:
New & Selected Poems 1955-1993

New Directions
80 Eighth Ave.
New York NY, 10011

320 pp., $22.95

Any library of 20th century poetry would have to include the work of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He is a connector between contemporary and modern. Engaged in the events of his age, moving through the world igniting sparks, illuminations--not unlike the imagists in form, or the troubadors in romance, but completely, purely Ferlighetti. There is no mistaking his voice, a classic sensibility writing the poetry of a world spinning sensless in dissolution. His poetry is real and direct, in ordinary tongue, but rarely resigned, never hopeless. At the end of "Assassination Raga," in part a commemoration of the Kennedy assassinations, after facing the cold reality of bitter death he says, "There is no god but Life" and leaves us with "People with roses/ behind the barricades!"

The poems are his own selection from his books, and includes an excellent selection of new work. Ferlinghetti has certainly been a poet of our times, but has also certainly written in eternity, suspending the events and his own flesh and blood soul there, illuminations of the world.--Jake Berry

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #5,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1996.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press