Pictures of the Gone World
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Pictures of the Gone World

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  857 ratings  ·  24 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,857)
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Melody (A Charles)
"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
Michelle
Yes, I love beatnik poetry. Don't judge me.
Ben
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
Lize
Mar 20, 2011 Lize rated it 4 of 5 stars
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

Mark Opfer
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
Anna
Oct 30, 2008 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
I enjoyed this and would have given it more than three stars, but I read Coney Island of the Mind first and many of these peoms were published in that book so it didn't quite resonate with me the same way.
Stephy
May 31, 2007 Stephy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
Lane Wilkinson
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 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Wonderful works. The expanded collection has 12 or so poems not in the original book. Very good.
Jeffrey
Loved this wild poetic ride!
Barbara
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
Leiliah
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.
Kasandra
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
Mat
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.
Chris
"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 2 of 5 stars
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
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 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: beat, poetry
I bought this at City Lights and had Ferlinghetti sign it! I still have the copy.
Kristina
Such a tiny little book with words all over.
James Payne
IDK. Glad I stole this, let's say.
Gregory Rodriguez
This was a good book but he had better!
Chris
Short, but sweet.
Brianna
Brianna marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2014
Jorgen
Jorgen marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2014
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Jamie Morris marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2014
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Jul 25, 2014
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29970
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...
A Coney Island of the Mind City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology Poetry as Insurgent Art A Far Rockaway of the Heart Her

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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”
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