The soul of the city: San Francisco honors literary hero Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Feb 24, 2021 431

BY: Peter-Astrid Kane

By early afternoon, a small memorial of flowers and a can of Pabst had begun to accumulate outside the door of City Lights Books, to commemorate the death of its co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. And by the evening, a vigil for Ferlinghetti, one of the last living links to the Beat generation, was being held in the adjacent Jack Kerouac Alley, a tiny side street that separates the bookstore – a tourist attraction and official city landmark for decades – from the celebrated Beat hangout Vesuvio Cafe.

With votives, plenty of red wine, and at least one typewriter clacking out fresh verse on the sidewalk, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered to honor Ferlinghetti: published poets, personal friends, and people who simply appreciated sitting in a chair in City Lights’ Poetry Room.

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