Mini book review: “A Coney Island of the Mind”

by Keena Kimmel

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, now 98 years young, is equally renowned for his own work and his efforts on behalf of other writers. His bookstore/publishing house, City Lights Books, opened in San Francisco in 1953 and quickly gained infamy following the obscenity trial surrounding the publishing of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl and Other Poems” in 1956. City Lights became the intellectual home of the Beat movement in American literature, and still thrives today, a Mecca for literary types the world over.

Ferlinghetti’s poetry collection “A Coney Island of the Mind” is among the top-selling volumes in the history of American poetry. To savor this slender volume is to denounce American consumerism and embrace the fleeting uncertainty of the hour. This book, plus a quiet spot, equals the perfect antidote to 21st-century overload.

“Let’s go

Come on

Let’s go

Empty our pockets

And disappear.

Missing all our appointments

And turning up unshaven

Years later

Old cigarette papers

stuck to our pants

leaves in our hair.

Let us not

worry about the payments


Let them come

and take it away

whatever it was

we were paying for.

And us with it…”

— from “Junkman’s Obbligato”

Keena KimmelOwner of White Rabbit Books and Curiosities


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