University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point professor William Lawlor reminds us that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of SoT-favorite Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind:
Ferlinghetti remarks, "People come up to me after poetry readings and say, 'You know, I read your book when I was in high school, and I split,' or 'I left home,' or 'It changed my life.' "
Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the United States, admits his debt to Ferlinghetti's "little amusement park of a book." Collins carried "A Coney Island of the Mind" in his pocket "up and down the treacherous halls of high school."
On the 50th anniversary of the publication of "A Coney Island of the Mind," New Directions is releasing a special commemorative edition, complete with a CD of Ferlinghetti reading from the text, with some recordings dating back to 1957, when Ferlinghetti read at the Cellar in San Francisco with the backing of the Cellar Jazz Quintet. The cover of the commemorative edition is new, but the text, which includes poems from Ferlinghetti's first book, "Pictures of the Gone World" (1955), is almost identical to the original. For readers who have $100 to spend, New Directions offers a limited slip-cased edition of 200 autographed copies.
Actually, if you don't mind doing your shopping at Amazon, you can preorder the signed copy of the 50th anniversary edition of A Coney Island of the Mind there.