Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age? What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words….


From Poetry as Insurgent Art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Copyright © 2007 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Published by New Directions.

Born in 1919, poet and translator Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and the founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, California.

4 comments on “Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]

  1. Kelly Lynn McGehee
    July 18, 2020

    Thank you Lawrence! I am inspired by you, City Lights and Alfonso Texidor.
    I’m missing cafe Barbar and have never stopped shedding light on the narrow path of my life.
    If I could meet you.
    It would be payment enough for each word.
    Love to know you are alive today,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mike moon
    March 23, 2020

    We do need a Whitman.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emily DeFerrari
    March 20, 2020

    A perfect edict for today

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Saleh Razzouk
    March 20, 2020

    Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

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