Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti—friend of Allen Ginsberg, co-founder of the legendary City Lights bookstore in San Francisco—is still kicking at 93 years of age. Today we’re honoring him with a few of his best quotes from Poetry As Insurgent Art, a collection of poetry, advice, and aphorisms, first published in 1975 and updated several times in the decades since:
Poetry has no gender but isn’t sexless.
If you would be a poet, write living newspapers. Be a reporter from outer space, filing dispatches to some supreme managing editor who believes in full disclosure and has a low tolerance for bullshit.
Stutterers and stammerers also have the right to make poetry.
[Poetry] is a lighthouse moving its megaphone over the sea.
Paper may burn but words will escape.
The function of poetry is to debunk with light.
Raise the blinds, throw open your shuttered windows, raise the roof, unscrew the locks from the doors, but don’t throw away the screws.