Book Review — Little Boy

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is an American poet, painter, socialist activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. At 99 he is one of the last survivors of the Beat generation of poets and writers. Little Boy is semiautobiographical and begins with his childhood shuffling between guardians, service in World War II, and Paris. A long life blends the old and the new. An excellent mix of Google and Barney Google. Facebook gains mention along with the World Wide Web early on in the book. It is an unexpected mixture of ages but rather plain. The reader falls into a routine the begetting in Chronicles. Suddenly the text explodes into a Ginsbergesque rant. He calls on the poets of the past as one would call on the saints. He has anger:

We’re the victors we set the exchange rates the laws the
treaties not worth the paper they are printed on ha-ha we’ll tell you
how to breathe all you fuckers trying to destroy us bombing the Twin
Towers you little creeps with your pajama clothes and weird religions
and who the hell was Mohammed Zoroaster Sufi Buddha-boy Omar
Khayyam Rumi smoking hookahs and kicking back we’ll take care of
you buddy after Twin Towers we’ll generate this huge national
paranoia allowing our guv to abolish liberty in the land of the free with
panic legislation

The words flow smoothly, sometimes violently, but always with meaning and life. The words seem alive. Here is a man, on in his years, not calmly telling his life and experience to grandchildren, but raging refusing to go gently into the night.  Here is a man who saw the remains of Nagasaki and wants to remind us it can happen again.  Powerful, moving, a lifetime recorded on a hundred pages.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review

3 responses to “Book Review — Little Boy

  1. Great review. I love his poetry, I didn’t realize he’d written this!

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