Wednesday, July 30, 2014
"Ferlinghetti" with Allen Ginsburg and Bob Dylan (2010)
Most people first came across Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the film “The Last Waltz”, which chronicled the final concert of the group in San Francisco. The year was 1976. Lawrence Ferlinghetti had long ago made his mark on the world, but there were still many who had not read his poetry or even knew his name.
His version of the Lord’s Prayer will forever be cemented in the minds of millions of movie goers who saw that film. (This version is from the film and is slightly different than the published one.)
“Our father whose art's in heaven
Hollow be thy name unless things change.
Thy kingdom come and gone
Thy will will be undone on Earth, as it isn't Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, at least three times a day
and lead us not into temptation too often on weekdays,
but deliver us from evil
whose presence remains unexplained in thy kingdom of power and
In this film the poet explores the Beat Generation of poets and writers; many of whom appear in the film crediting Mr. Ferlinghetti with having been an inspiration to them. That list includes, Allen Ginsburg, Bob Dylan and Billy Collins. There are too many names to fit on the cover of this incredibly insightful documentary.
Poetry is one of the oldest arts; before stage and screen. It must have come about after people began telling tales around the fire at night. Certainly past the grunts and sounds which early on served as speech. But I suspect that as soon as words were formed someone started rhyming them, and shortly thereafter came free verse. And poetry has been around long enough to leave a complete account of history. "The Epic of Gilgamesh", an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is believed to date to the 18th Century B.C. The Greek tragedies are almost modern by comparison! And the poetry we call the Bible is pretty much contemporary in the grand scheme of things.
This film will inform you and entertain you; it will also help you understand the direction which poetry; and what we came to call the “sub-culture” of the post-war era; took in the most tumultuous years of the late 20th century.
For one of my favorite poems by Mr. Ferlinghetti; “I Am Waiting”, use this link;