Ferlinghetti's importance in the beat movement was not simply through writings, but more importantly through his publishing company and book store "City Light's" in San Francisco. Recently given the title "Commandeur des Arts et Lettres" by the French government, Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers in 1919 and received his masters degree from Columbia University in 1947. He founded the City Lights bookstore in 1953 and launched the publishing house in 1955. Since 1953, the store has been a meeting place for many of nation's greatest writers. In 1956, City Lights published Ginsberg's "Howl", and Ferlinghetti was proudly arrested on obscenity charges.
Besides publishing, Ferlinghetti is also writer and a prominent painter. According to his website, he art has been shown in galleries around the world.
(artwork by William Wolff)