Through his poetry Lawrence Ferlinghetti often looks back to a “first light,” a prevailing image in many of his poems. He imagines even farther back to his parent’s courtship, his conception along the banks of the Hudson River, his first stirrings at birth of light and consciousness. Rivers and beaches are subjects in many of his early poems, finding in them “Primal images” that relate to the consciousness he now searches. He voices a poetic image of America as “A Vast Confusion--- all life forces lost in night”
During World War II, Ferlinghetti served in the United States Navy, both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. He commanded a sub-chaser on D-Day along the Normandy coast. In the Pacific his own consciousness faced the reality of militarism in the devastated city of Nagasaki. An old sea chest from those times pulled up from his cellar reveals navy uniforms with combat ribbons for valor and a Bosun’s whistle with which he pipes a shrill cry to all for universal Pacifism.
Directed by: Erik Bauersfeld
Recorded and Mixed by: James McKee
Production Assistant: Maria Gilardin
Creative Consultants: Irene Oppenheim and Nancy Peters