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Pictures of the Gone World

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,066 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Published to celebrate forty years of City Lights publishing, which began with the letterpress printing of this book in 1955.

It was Lawrence Ferlinghetti's first book, and it has been reprinted twenty-one times, having never been out of print. The original edition contained the first twenty-seven poems to which the author has now added eighteen new verses.
Paperback, 45 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by City Lights Publishers (first published 1955)
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On the Road by Jack KerouacHowl and Other Poems by Allen GinsbergThe Dharma Bums by Jack KerouacNaked Lunch by William S. BurroughsJunky by William S. Burroughs
Beat Lit
20th out of 164 books — 141 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteLord of the Flies by William GoldingThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Best Books of the Decade: 1950's
312th out of 666 books — 946 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,346)
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Michelle
Sep 25, 2007 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Yes, I love beatnik poetry. Don't judge me.
Melody (A Charles)
Jul 30, 2012 Melody (A Charles) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"crazy / to be alive in such a strange / world", indeed.

my quotation can't do justice to the way LF spreads his lines out across the small pages. gotta love the man responsible for the pocket poets series.

25.
"The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
very much fun
if you don't mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don't sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind som
...more
Lize
Mar 20, 2011 Lize rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetic
Read in 1992. My favorite, which I copied out and put on my apartment refrigerator:

Number 8

It was a face which darkness could kill
in an instant
a face as easily hurt
by laughter or light

'We think differently at night'
she told me once
lying back languidly

And she would quote Cocteau

'I feel there is an angel in me' she'd say
'whom I am constantly shocking'

Then she would smile and look away
light a cigarette for me
sigh and rise

and stretch
her sweet anatomy

let fall a stocking

Ben
May 16, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Lawrence Ferlinghetti remarked that whereas City Lights co-founder Peter Martin was born into an anarchist family, son of Carlos Tresca, "I was getting my anarchist ideas from Kenneth Rexroth," adding that his poetry has become more political with time. One certainly gets the sense that his writing became more political when reading "Pictures of the Gone World" in comparison with, say, "Tyannus Nix" or "Time of Useful Consciousness," or some of the poems from "Americus" (I haven't read it all ye ...more
Lane Wilkinson
Jan 31, 2008 Lane Wilkinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
For almost five years, this short book of poetry was never more than a few feet from me. The idea of "Pocket Poetry" was never more seriously instantiated.
Eric
Mar 11, 2009 Eric rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wonderful works. The expanded collection has 12 or so poems not in the original book. Very good.
Grace
Jul 30, 2015 Grace rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I can’t quite remember what made me get out this book. I think it was because I saw some excerpt quoted somewhere. And, taken out of context, some of those lines can pack a punch—just as much as an entire poem in wholeness can, actually. Although I’ve found some lines actually lose their punch because of the rest of the poem, but I digress.

Overall, at times the arrangement of the poems grated on my nerves. Because the poems lines were broken enough times, I heard pauses in my head, which made fo
...more
S.
Feb 21, 2016 S. added it
"I too have drunk and seen/ the spider"
Mark Opfer
Aug 07, 2012 Mark Opfer rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, gedichten
After I read Poetry as Insurgent Art I found that I liked Ferlinghetti's style, although I thought is was unpolished. It might have just been that book, since Pictures of the Gone World, Ferlinghetti's first book, is a lot smoother. The way he plays with rhythm and rhyme inspires me, and the way he incorporates classical themes and images in his decidedly contemporary poetry gets a cool nod of approval. In short, Ferlinghetti might just be my favorite poet
Leiliah
Jan 19, 2014 Leiliah rated it it was amazing
i do not read poetry very often, but when I do, i love it.

A WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO BE BORN INTO
is a proof for me, that I always find the best things accidentally.

it was kind of a book, i could read every day before sleep, like whole month, and never have enough of its feelings.
Stephy
May 31, 2007 Stephy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who hasn't read it.
Shelves: poetry
Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes real psychedelic words, with mind blowing ideas couched in words simple enough for a child to get, complex enough to keep reading it all your life.
Mandy
Apr 04, 2007 Mandy rated it it was amazing
I'm not big into poetry, but Ferlinghetti packs as much story into poetic verse as most people stretch out over a whole novel. #21 is my personal favorite.
Jeffrey
May 22, 2013 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
Loved this wild poetic ride!
Barbara
Jul 05, 2008 Barbara rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
What I quickly want to say about this collection is that I am not sure where or what is my way in. I feel like maybe what Ferlinghetti is doing is elegizing a "gone world" which we see in an unacknowledged Dante sculpture amid a bustling city, almost out of place in a modern world or in a setting of modernity.

In terms of his use of sprawling form, lines unanchored to any margin, but rather, floating in this ether-like white space, perhaps this is meant to express that disjunctiveness between th
...more
Greg Bem
Jun 03, 2016 Greg Bem rated it really liked it
I felt my head resound with a 1950s rarely seen, bridging periods of time, offering a mutual aesthetic to what I knwo now.
Michael Avery
Sep 03, 2014 Michael Avery rated it liked it
Good. I had to get in the right frame of mind, which is to say I had to let go, but some of the poems really shone through.
Kasandra
Feb 20, 2012 Kasandra rated it liked it
These short poems really do come across as pictures, vignettes heavy on imagery and wry humor, though a little short at times on emotional content. They're like little watercolors; the writing style is a bit "spacy" for my taste (heavy on space on the page and one or two words per line, I suppose a "jazzy", beat style), but this is inspiring in terms of how much can be communicated compactly and vividly. There's a great use of rhyme throughout, very playful. I liked A Coney Island of the Mind be ...more
Brendan
May 12, 2015 Brendan rated it really liked it
Shelves: beat-poets
Tempted to give it a 3 1/2, but I have a history of being harsh on poetry. So I'll call it a soft 4.

"A poem is a mirror walking down a strange street."

"Silence hung like a lost idea."

"And each poem a picture at an exhibition upon a blank wall made of concrete chaos."

That last one makes me wonder if he was referencing Mussorgsky.
Mike
Feb 01, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing
Reading Yeats I do not think
of Arcady
and of its woods which Yeats thought dead
I think instead
of all the gone faces
getting off at midtown place
with their hats and their jobs
and of that lost book I had
with its blue cover and its white inside
where a pencil had written
HORSEMAN, PASS BY!
Mat
Jun 26, 2013 Mat rated it really liked it
Fantastic. This was really mind-blowing. I am lost for words as to how Ferlinghetti is able to hit those rhythms and find the perfect words and leave you acheing for more. Incredibly strong first book from a poet/author. Highly recommended. Can't wait to read Coney Island of the Mind soon.
E. Gail Chandler
Jan 31, 2016 E. Gail Chandler rated it it was amazing
"making babies and wearing pants and waving hats and dancing and going swimming in rivers on picnics in the middle of the summer and just generally 'living it up' Yes but then right in the middle of it comes the smiling mortician" I can't tell you how much I love Lawrence Ferlinghetti!
J.C.
Oct 28, 2015 J.C. rated it really liked it
Moments. Word pictures of brief moments in time. The words are light on the tongue when read aloud. I really enjoyed this book and will read it again some summer day in the future, should go perfectly with a glass of cool sweet lemonade.
Chris
Aug 03, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
"The world is a beautiful place to be born into" is a poem I'll carry around with me. The rest of this left me flat. Ferlinghetti is better in my memory than he is on the page.
Angelique
"A POEM IS A MIRROR WALKING DOWN A STRANGE STREET"

A book like a good sandwich - delicious, quick, and leaves you happy yet wanting more.
Oscar
Jul 05, 2008 Oscar rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Beat Completists
Shelves: poetry
A good quick read but not entirely satisfying. A must for fans of Ferlinghetti and Beat Poetry, but not a whole lot here for anyone else.
George
Jan 01, 2009 George rated it really liked it
this was a favorite of mine back when. the title alone, for me, conjures enough to make it withstand the test of time.
Wm
Mar 21, 2008 Wm rated it really liked it
Shelves: beat, poetry
I bought this at City Lights and had Ferlinghetti sign it! I still have the copy.
Kristina
Sep 27, 2011 Kristina rated it liked it
Such a tiny little book with words all over.
James Payne
Mar 26, 2012 James Payne rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
IDK. Glad I stole this, let's say.
Gregory Rodriguez
Mar 24, 2008 Gregory Rodriguez rated it liked it
This was a good book but he had better!
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A prominent voice of the wide-open poetry movement that began in the 1950s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has written poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration, and essays. Often concerned with politics and social issues, Ferlinghetti’s poetry countered the literary elite's definition of art and the artist's role in the world. Though imbued with the commonplace, his poetry canno ...more
More about Lawrence Ferlinghetti...

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“It was a face which darkness could kill
in an instant
a face as easily hurt
by laughter or light

'We think differently at night'
she told me once
lying back languidly

And she would quote Cocteau

'I feel there is an angel in me' she'd say
'whom I am constantly shocking'

Then she would smile and look away
light a cigarette for me
sigh and rise

and stretch
her sweet anatomy

let fall a stocking”
40 likes
More quotes…