A Picture of the Gone World

By Ferlinghetti, Lawrence | Chicago Review, Summer-Fall 1996 | Go to article overview

A Picture of the Gone World


Ferlinghetti, Lawrence, Chicago Review


When this selection from Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 1955 Pictures of the Gone World appeared in the Winter 1958 issue of Chicago Review, it marked the magazine's first publication of the new poetry coming out of San Francisco. As the poet would remark in the subsequent issue, "the poetry which has been making itself heard here of late is what should be called street poetry. For it amounts to getting the poet out of the inner esthetic sanctum where he has too long been contemplating his complicated navel. It amounts to getting poetry back into the street where it once was, out of the classroom, out of the speech department, and - in fact - off the printed page." This attitude toward print explains, perhaps, why he would publish the poem serially after the book had been released; it was a practice he later followed in publishing the poem "Populist Manifesto" in many places, including the Summer 1975 issue of Chicago Review. Of Pictures of the Gone World, he wrote to us recently that he had never written any commentary on the work; FERLINGHETTI simply stated: "These poems were written all at once during a very short period in my early thirties. …

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