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The Secret Meaning of Things has all the elements of his earlier poetry: lyrical intensity, wit, social concern, satirical bite, and above all a classical claritas. But it goes much further: there is a deepening of vision and a darker understanding of "our clay condition." The six long poems in The Secret Meaning of Things show a progressive continuity and clarity of perception that apprehends both the hard reality and luminous irreality in everyday phenomena. In "Assassination Raga"––on the death of Robert Kennedy––the glass through which the poet sees darkly is the television screen; the poem was first read on the night of RFK’s funeral at a mass memorial in San Francisco. "Bickford’s Buddha" is a meditation on "Observation Fever" in Harvard Square, while "All Too Clearly" finds a "touch of old surrealism/at a stoplight in La Jolla." "Through the Looking Glass" begins with an actual flight aboard a commercial airliner and moves through a psychedelic vision to a final flash of the Dance of Shiva, which in turn opens out into the worldview of "After the Cries of Birds." "Moscow in the Wilderness, Segovia in the Snow" comes out of Ferlinghetti’s travels to Moscow and across the steppes in the winter of 1967.
About the Author
In 1953 Lawrence Ferlinghetti cofounded City Lights, the first paperback bookstore in the United States, a Mecca for millions. His Coney Island of the Mind is one of the best-selling volumes of poetry by any living American poet. Born in Yonkers, New York, in 1919, Ferlinghetti has received the Robert Frost Memorial Medal and the first Literarian Award of the National Book Foundation.