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December 1999

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
A Coney Island of the Mind
Rykodisc

On A Coney Island of the Mind, Ferlinghetti revisits his 29-part 1958 poem cycle (now in its 36th printing) to the accompaniment of Dana Colley's moody, jazz-tinged backing. Alternately cautionary and celebratory, these sensitively read surrealistic snapshots of '50s America retain their lively if shallow appeal four decades after their controversial appearance. The Coney Island vignettes are fleshed out with several additional verses conceived to be read with jazz accompaniment, including the whimsical "Dog," previously recorded in 1958 by Bob Dorough in what remains the most effective jazz-poetry fusion to date.

Originally published in December 1999
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