Less than an hour ago, I read the announcement that poet, painter, publisher, and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti died at the age of 101. I remember first discovering him for myself through Poetry as Insurgent Art at BEA more than a decade ago and then diving into A Coney Island of the Mind, which has one of my favorite openings to a poem ever.
Former WD Senior Managing Editor Zachary Petit interviewed Ferlinghetti for the 90th anniversary of Writer's Digest. That's the source of the following eight Ferlinghetti quotes, which touch on time, craft, passion, and more.
8 Lawrence Ferlinghetti Quotes for Writers and About Writing
"A poem is usually a visual turn-on to begin with, and the idea is to make it into something more than a visual perception."
"I was writing letters in French; part of my family was French and I was in France for most of my first five years, and when I got separated from my French aunt I used to write her long letters in French. And she considered herself a poet, so I considered myself a poet when I wrote her, and I felt I had to equal her poetry. So that was really the first writing I did."
"If you're going to be a writer you should sit down and write in the morning, and keep it up all day, every day."
Enter Writer's Digest's Annual Writing Competition featuring nine categories, including rhyming poetry, non-rhyming poetry, personal essay, and more; each with first place prizes of $1,000, second place prizes of $500, third place prizes of $250, and more. Plus, an overall Grand Prize of $5,000, an interview in Writer's Digest magazine, and more.
"I'm really not interested in 'craft'—I think it's a miserable word to be applied to poetry."
"My poetry is definitely figurative."
"The word great is really overused these days because the English language seems to have a paucity of adjectives."
"They say that great art is made by hunger and passion."
"Time wears down the pencil."