Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I've posted the following on previous occasions, the last time being in 2015.  It is a brief excerpt of an audio recording (a recording I like a great deal) of a live performance on the television show Your Hit Parade, on NBC. It is from the March 15, 1952 telecast of the Hit Parade, two days before St. Patrick's Day.

The audio excerpt is of my mother, Sue Bennett, singing "Great Day for the Irish," accompanied by the program's choral group, the Hit Paraders.  The show's "Lucky Strike Orchestra" was led by Raymond Scott.


Friday, March 5, 2021

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti died on February 22nd, in San Francisco.  He was 101.

In addition to his poetry (which includes the widely-known book A Coney Island of the Mind, published in 1958 by New Directions),  Mr. Ferlinghetti was the co-founder, in 1953, of San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore.  In 1955 he founded the publishing company City Lights Books, housed in the same building as the bookstore. 

In 1956, Mr. Ferlinghetti and City Lights made literary history by publishing the poem "Howl," by Allen Ginsberg (in Mr. Ginsberg's book, Howl and Other Poems).  Mr. Ferlinghetti was later arrested, on an obscenity charge, for publishing the poem.  He was acquitted at trial; the judge in the case ruled that the poem  had "redeeming social importance."  The manager of City Lights Bookstore, Shigeyoshi Murao, was also arrested--for selling the book, to an undercover police officer.  He too was acquitted.

In an obituary about Mr. Ferlinghetti in The Washington Post, there was a quote from him that I was struck by, about the publishing of poetry; the quote is eloquent, and, yes, poetic. 

The Post's Emma Brown wrote:

Mr. Ferlinghetti was clear-eyed about the fate of most avant-garde work. “Publishing a book of poetry is still like dropping it off a bridge somewhere and waiting for a splash,’’ he once said. “Usually you don’t hear anything.’’