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A Coney Island of the Mind

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  10,088 ratings  ·  325 reviews
The title of this book is taken from Henry Miller's "Into the Night Life" and expresses the way Lawrence Ferlinghetti felt about these poems when he wrote them during a short period in the 1950's—as if they were, taken together, a kind of Coney Island of the mind, a kind of circus of the soul.
Paperback, 93 pages
Published 1968 by New Directions (first published 1958)
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Bill  Kerwin
May 22, 2007 rated it really liked it

This is one of the best-selling poetry books of all time, and, although that is no guarantee of poetic excellence—after all, Rod McKuen and Martin Farquar Tupper both sold a lot of books in their day—it is a sign that the author had his finger on the pulse of his time, that his work embodies the yearnings and anxiety of a particular age.

That is certainly true of Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind(1958). No other book so perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the ‘60’s counterculture, the opt
...more
Maureen
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: poetry
In looking at the book page for this book, I am struck by how many people chose to include one of Ferlinghetti's poems. In my opinion, what that says is that although some of the slanguage and cultural references may be a bit dated, these poems still resonate with people, me included. I bought my copy of this book at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, sat, and read it from cover to cover. Almost everyone who reads this book will find a poem that will stay with them a long, long time.
Renee Alberts
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
my dad gave me his beat-up copy of Coney Island when i was in junior high, and showed me "11" the poem he'd recited for his forensics team when he was in high school. that poetry could be that natural, funny and defiant shocked me, and i've been hooked ever since.

this one is up there on the list of books that changed my life.
Granny
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: beats and cool cats of any age
One of the greatest influences of my teen years. Meeting and working with him in 1984 was an experience I'll never forget. Yeah, I still have my "ancient" copy of this book from the 1950's!
Stef
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
in honor of one of my favorite beat poets, i will write this review without touching the shift key
and, of course, my thumb readily on the space tab



a collection of interesting visual poetry


don't need to snap your fingers or wear black

or have a set of bongos



fluid writing, cool fluidly throughout


read over and over
and over
 

again





Acompassforbooks
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Leggendo queste poesie sembra di perdersi in un lungo viaggio in cui, dopo aver condotto tutto quello che si pensava di essere al di la della propria comfort zone, ci si accorge della vastità del nostro mondo interiore e in quella scoperta si trova la ragione stessa per affrontare una nuova idea di ritorno e di casa.
Britannie
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
BY LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

In Golden Gate Park that day
a man and his wife were coming along
thru the enormous meadow
which was the meadow of the world
He was wearing green suspenders
and carrying an old beat-up flute
in one hand
while his wife had a bunch of grapes
which she kept handing out
individually
to various squirrels
as if each
were a little joke

And then the two of them came on
thru the enormous meadow
which was the meadow of the world
and then
at a very still spot where the trees dreamed
and seemed to hav
...more
Masked
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dangerpoet
the guy wrote a poem where marc chagall's mom is yelling at him.

"but he
kept right on
painting"

i love how sweet ferlinghetti's poems are. i don't think he means them to be. but they are.

Adriana Scarpin
I am Waiting

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final witherin
...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
review of
Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 12, 2011

Rereading A Coney Island of the Mind for what might be the 1st time in 41 yrs felt like going home again - by wch I mean that it feels like something that I'm very familiar w/ - even though I'm not. There's always the possibility that when one reads something in one's 'formative yrs' that it becomes deeply instantiated. Rereading this felt strangely comfortable - like being w/ an old fr
...more
aconeyisland
I am leading a quiet life
in Mike’s Place every day
I hear America singing
in the Yellow Pages.



I am leading a quiet life
in Mike’s Place every day
watching the champs
of the Dante Billiard Parlor
and the French pinball addicts.
I am leading a quiet life
on lower East Broadway.
I am an American.
I was an American boy.
I read the American Boy Magazine
and became a boy scout
in the suburbs.
I thought I was Tom Sawyer
catching crayfish in the Bronx River
and imagining the Mississippi.
I had a baseba
...more
Erik Graff
Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Beats and wanna-bes
Recommended to Erik by: Rachel Nelson
Shelves: poetry
Throughout much of my youth I bore fealty to a single woman. In junior high it was Nancy, half a foot taller than me, she of the checked skirts. In high school and into college it was Rachel, artist, fabricator of her own clothing, the girl down the block. Nothing came of these relationships in the ordinary sense. We were friends, but the passion wasn't reciprocated. I never really expected it would be.

Rachel had a custom during my last two years of secondary school of having folks over for Cons
...more
Mind the Book
Att läsas experimentellt till (inre) jazz.
En favorit är Autobiography.

#BOTNS bokbingo: 'Has a place-name in the title'
mwpm
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The collection is divided into three parts: A Coney Island of the Mind; Oral Messages; and Poems from Pictures of the Gone World. In the first and third part, readers are treated to Ferlinghetti's trademark style, with lines that appear to have been told to stand on either side of the page...

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
(pg. 30)

(to see the poem in all its glory,
...more
Punk
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Poetry. I like Ferlinghetti for his rhythm, humor, and creative use of white space. Sometimes, like ee cummings, Ferlinghetti seems to be constructing something on the page that makes sense only to him, but occasionally he hits on a structure that perfectly enhances the meaning of a poem. He uses this to great effect in works like "Johnny Nolan has a patch on his ass," where the text mirrors the rhythm and action of the poem.

This volume is an odd mix of political, sexual, and comical. Trains mak
...more
Matthew Gallant
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was my first book of poetry. A gift from my college professor uncle. I read it right away, eager to break away from the school-taught (to this day!) Frost/Poe/Dickinson monotony. Don't get me wrong, they were great, but I suspected there was more out there and I was right. Ferlinghetti was the beginning for me. Incidentally, Uncle John also gave me a little text called "Revenge of the Lawn," which I just finally cracked last week after it stayed in storage since high school. Sorry, Richard, ...more
Elyssa
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Lawrence Ferlinghetti might be one of the lesser known Beats, which is unfortunate. Although I generally do not like poetry, this is one book that's been on my shelf since high school. My admiration for Ferlinghetti resulted in visiting his City Lights Bookstore when I was in San Francisco ten or so years ago. I had hoped to run into him, but was not successful; however, just being in his world was enough for me. I periodically page through this book and re-read his poems and take pleasure in th ...more
Mary
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
In "A Coney Island of the Mind"
Ferlinghetti's poetry is totally mind blowing and unbelievably still seems quite current...A masterpiece!!
Leland
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Clearly, this is one of the most wonderful and important collections of American poetry yet written. Ferlinghetti is, in my view, king of the Beat Era poets.
Faith-Anne
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people just getting interested in poetry
Shelves: my-favorites, poetry
This is a perfect book for people interested in exploring the world of poetry. I know quite a few people who got hooked on the genre through this book.
Cyndi
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Surreal, romantic, hopeful and somewhat despairing. Some primo pieces of work evocative of the psychology of the latter 50s to early 60s, with the Cold War and the onset of the hippie movement.
Mick
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Not reading this is UnAmerican. Really.
Matt

Every bookish malcontent in the world gets all hot and bothered by the Beats, and that's fine, of course, but Lawrence Ferlinghetti is one of the major poets of the movement and he gets overlooked quite often.

In fact, there's a moment in this documentary I saw on him where he's at his 70th birthday or something and he's chatting with Gregory Corso. Corso's all shabby and grungy and resentful, a bitter minor voice if there ever was one, and he says something to Ferlinghetti to the effect of "Ja
...more
Dixon
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I was in college (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth), I fell in love with this volume of Beat Generation poetry. I did some readings of Ferlinghetti on the college speech & debate circuit, and he helped me bring home some trophies. I guess you could say we were partners of a sort.

Ferlinghetti was not merely a poet. He also owned the Harbor Lights bookstore (I think that's the name) and ran a small press. When Ginsberg was trying to publish "Howl," Ferlinghetti was the only one with th
...more
Jake
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I had never read Ferlinghetti before, and I bought this solely because of its title. Coney Island? OF THE MIND? Well, it had a lot of that quality. Titleless poems that bounced around, colorful and chiming. It was noises and images and an America you’d hope to find out on the east coast boardwalk of the great arcade known as Coney Island. It wasn’t exactly beatnik sleight of hand, nor was it the slow-mouthed observations of this country. It was a mixture of a man reading at a jazz club, a man ju ...more
Amy
This book of poetry feels like a slice of history. I can feel the influence of the beatniks, slam poetry, the style of E.E. Cummings (and others), and the impending '60s. The writing is current and prescient, personal and political, musical and lyrical. He captures ideas and moments in time, but they're not that far removed from today.

Here's a moment-in-time favorite. You don't really know how the woman is feeling until the end, and then you wonder what her life was like in the next decade:

In G
...more
Jim
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ferlinghetti
conducting a symphony of words
cooking a recipe of ideas
with
pop culture
and counter culture
and subculture
and high culture
and low culture
and Western culture

Less writing
and more pulling words together
finding the pattern
pleasing
to the inner eye

He sees with a critical eye
and cuts
down
and skewers the lies
of the world around us
as true today as in 1950

Only read this if you can stand
him reaching into your brain
the Coney Island of your mind
and spreading it on the streets of you
...more
Arcadia
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is going to be a poem that resonates with you. An allegorical collection of poems, 'the author intended it as a sustained metaphor or allegory for modern life'. His use of structure is very note-worthy. It allows the reader to freely read it, changing the meaning of the sentence depending on your intonation. They're smart and witty poems.
I liked '15' where he compares a poet to a tightrope walker. Or the one where he describes a drunken hookup, the girl declaring that 'you and I could rea
...more
kate
Apr 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: poetry
i slipped this from a top shelf of my parents' floor to ceiling bookshelves when i was 12 years old. i lay on the floor and fell head over heels in love with these words. there is an undeniable current within these pages and these poems stay within the recess of your mind.

"only the next day she has bad teeth and really hates poetry"

the well-worn copy i keep within reach is that same copy i slipped from that shelf.
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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
“I once started out
to walk around the world
but ended up in Brooklyn,
that Bridge was too much for me.”
43 likes
“I am waiting for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe for anarchy”
33 likes
More quotes…