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Lawrence Ferlinghetti collaborating with Bay Area Radio Drama

Award: $34,000 Literary Arts Grant awarded in 2004

Premiered on air: 2006

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti collaborated with Bay Area Radio Drama and Earwax Productions to produce a series of three original hour-long audio compositions titled Open Mind, Open Heart. Ferlinghetti explored three sites–“Seas and Shores,” “Bixby Canyon,” and “San Francisco”–juxtaposing autobiography and commentary with sound and poetry–exploring “the growing edge of American consciousness.” The pieces were broadcast on public radio nationally and internationally, and available through the Internet.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti had long experience with the oral tradition and audio medium. Beginning with public readings, poetry and jazz, drama performances, and radio presentations, prior to this grant, he had worked several times with the project’s audio artists—sound designer Jim McKee and Bay Area Radio Drama Director, Erik Bauersfeld. These associations led to Ferlinghetti’s interest in exploring the audio medium further.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is among the major literary figures of the second half of the 20th Century. One of the initial publishers of the Beat Generation poets, he also has published more than 30 books of his own works. His City Lights Bookstore has officially been declared a Historical Landmark. His writing enjoys an international following; and he also is a prolific painter.

Established in 1986 by Erik Bauersfeld, Bay Area Radio Drama’s (BARD’s) mission is to develop audio art works for radio, Internet, libraries, and other venues. BARD has produced original radio dramas by more than 30 Bay Area writers and theater artists including Sam Shepard, Susan Griffin, Ed Bullins, and Ellen Sebastian Chang. The productions have had national and international distribution. The collaboration also engaged Bay Area sound designer Jim McKee, a two-time Peabody Award winner. His Earwax recording facility, founded in 1984, produces original sound design for all media.