After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in journalism in 1941, Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving until the end of World War II and seeing action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He earned an M.A. in literature at Columbia University in 1948 and went on to get a doctoral degree from the Sorbonne in 1950. In 1953, he and Pete Martin founded the City Lights book shop in San Francisco and in 1955, he published his first collection of poetry, Pictures of the Gone World, as the first volume in the Pocket Poets series. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, published in 1956, was the fourth book in this series and catapulted Ferlinghetti into national prominence as a central figure in the Beat movement. When Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind was issued by James Laughlin’s pioneering New Directions Press in 1958, Ferlinghetti was firmly established as an important part of the alternative American literary landscape.