The heroic defender of free speech founded City Lights Books, the iconic San Francisco bookstore that first published poetry by some of the literary world's best writers and was an essential meeting place for the Beats and other bohemians in the 1950s and beyond.
Its publishing arm released books by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others. The most famous release was Ginsberg's anthemic poem, "Howl." It led to a 1957 obscenity trial that broke new ground for freedom of expression.
City Light Books tweeted a message about his passing: "'The greatest poem is lyric life itself.' Our poet and hero, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, passed away on Monday, February 22nd, in the evening. We love you, Lawrence."
"The greatest poem is lyric life itself."— City Lights Books (@CityLightsBooks) February 23, 2021
Our poet and hero, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, passed away on Monday, February 22nd, in the evening.
We love you, Lawrence. 💖https://t.co/h5QuVgbo4c pic.twitter.com/zJtxmIxVWz
The Associated Press contributed to this report.