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Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is an American poet,
painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights
Booksellers & Publishers. Author of poetry, translations,
fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, he is best
known for A Coney Island of the Mind (New York: New Directions,
1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine
languages, with sales of over 1 million copies. Lawrence
Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York on March 24, 1919. His
mother, n e Lyons Albertine Mendes-Monsanto was of French,
Portuguese Sephardic Jewish heritage. His father, Carlo
Ferlinghetti, was born in Brescia, Italy in 1872. He immigrated to
the United States in 1892, and worked as an auctioneer in Little
Italy, NYC. At some unknown point, Carlo Ferlinghetti shortened the
family name to "Ferling," and Lawrence wouldn't learn of his
original name until 1942, when he had to provide a birth
certificate to join the US Navy. Though he used "Ferling" for his
earliest published work, Ferlinghetti reverted to the original
Italian "Ferlinghetti" in 1955, when publishing his first book of
poems, Pictures of the Gone World.
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