Along with a handful of others, including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is recognized as one of the most important poets to emerge from the Beat Generation of writers. He is also founder of the famous City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, which spawned a publishing branch. In fact, Ferlinghetti published Ginsberg's notorious poem "Howl" (amongst a series of "pocket" books of poetry), resulting in a much-publicized trial on obscenity charges. In what was considered a landmark victory for free speech, the poets were declared innocent. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, NY, on March 24, 1919. Shortly after, his mother was committed to an asylum and he was sent to France to be raised by a relative. He returned to America at the age of five and began writing poetry while at boarding school in the late '20s. After an arrest for petty theft, Ferlinghetti was given a copy of a Baudelaire poetry collection, fully igniting his love for the form and steering him away from delinquency.