City Lights Newsletter – May 201

Date: 2015-05-01 08:06

From: “City Lights Booksellers & Publishers”

60th Anniversary Publications, Rad American Women A-Z, and more

City Lights Newsletter

May 2015

CELEBRATING 60 YEARS • 1955-2015

In 1955, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a mostly unknown poet and the co-founder of a popular all-paperback bookshop in San Francisco. His City Lights Bookstore was two years old and going strong when Ferlinghetti decided to launch a publishing imprint, inaugurating the Pocket Poets Series with his own first book of poems, Pictures of the Gone World, published in a letterpress edition of 500 copies. Priced at 75 cents a copy, the book was assembled by hand by Ferlinghetti and some friends at a small printer just down the street from the bookshop.

Within a year, Ferlinghetti had published two more poetry collections, but it was the success and scandal of the fourth volume of the Pocket Poets Series, Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg, that put City Lights on the map. Ferlinghetti was charged with publishing and selling obscenity, and his decision to go to trial and defend Howl based on its literary merit placed City Lights Publishers at the forefront of the literary vanguard of the time, establishing the press as a stolid defender of freedom of expression and a place to find the most innovative and challenging American and international poetry.

Now at 60 years old, City Lights is considered one of America’s major alternative presses. We continue to carry out Ferlinghetti’s legacy, publishing revolutionary and cutting-edge literature and politics from local, national and international authors. The mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction championed at City Lights has always been intended as a potent stimulant to what Ferlinghetti has described as the original idea behind his Pocket Poets Series: to create “an international, dissident, insurgent ferment.”

Coming this June 2015

City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology (
60th Anniversary Edition (
Edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Hardcover $21.95 | ISBN 9780872866799

“Printer’s ink is the greater explosive.”—Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A landmark sixtieth anniversary retrospective, this edition is a must-have collection, an invaluable distillation of the energetic, iconoclastic and still fresh body of work represented in the ongoing series. Ferlinghetti has selected a handful of poems from each of the sixty volumes, including the work of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andrei Voznesensky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Julio Cortázar, Frank O’Hara, Marie Ponsot, Denise Levertov, Diane di Prima, Robert Duncan, Philip Lamantia, Malcolm Lowry, and many more of the Pocket Poets Series’ innovative, influential, and often ground-breaking American and international poets.

“A book you can’t help but cherish.”—Times Literary Supplement

I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career (
The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg 1955-1997 (
Edited by Bill Morgan
Hardcover $26.95 | ISBN 9780872866867
Paperback $17.95 | ISBN 9780872866782

One of the longest relationships between a publisher and a writer, documented in an intimate correspondence spanning their respective careers.

Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg were two of the twentieth century’s most influential literary rebels, and their correspondence documents a time when both were rising to the peak of their notoriety and international fame, traveling, writing, publishing and performing their poetry during a period of unprecedented social and cultural experimentation and upheaval. Ferlinghetti was Ginsberg’s publisher and editor, and the correspondence begins with a telegram from Lawrence after hearing Allen’s legendary reading of “Howl” at the Six Gallery: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?”

The majority of the letters collected here have never before been published, and they span the period from 1955 until Ginsberg’s death in 1997. Facsimiles and photographs enhance the collection, an evocative portrait of an inspiring and enduring relationship.

“These [letters] should interest even casual readers, but devotees will find most rewarding the book’s central revelation: that while Ginsberg was Beat Poetry’s face, Ferlinghetti was its hero, the key to so many great writers’ success. Their affectionate correspondence becomes spottier as they make the switch to telephone calls, but the later letters are as striking and stirring as their very first exchanges. [Bill] Morgan has assembled an impressive volume that is a must for every Beat aficionado.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The letters are a perfect picture of the San Francisco Renaissance and the rise of the beat poets, with Ginsberg at the top of the heap.”—Kirkus Reviews

And look for these City Lights 60th Anniversary Titles in Fall 2015

Pictures of the Gone World: 60th Anniversary Edition (
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Hiparama of the Classics (
by Lord Buckley

Shock Treatment: 25th Anniversary Edition (
by Karen Finley


Our first kids book, Rad American Women A-Z ( is a huge hit with readers of all ages, girls and boys alike.

Sleater Kinney and Rad American Women A-Z collaborate on a music video for the book! Go to Upworthy (!

“With this book, author-illustrator duo Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl offer your child his or her first feminist primer, promoting women’s empowerment at large.”—MTV News (

“Author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl highlight a great selection of women—the group is diverse in terms of race, era, and in their field of work, ranging from scientists to writers and activists.”—Bitch Media (

“Please go buy this book. Buy it for your library, your classroom, your kids, your friends’ kids, your neighbors, yourself. Maybe, just to be safe, buy like 10 copies, so you have plenty to hand out for gifts. This book would make a great graduation present, a birthday present for kids of all ages, and a great gift for your adult friends, too. Can you guess that I’m kind of into this book? Because I am. “—School Library Journal (

“The History of Feminism—in an Awesome Picture Book. The ABCs just got a major girl-power upgrade.”—Teen Vogue (

“It’s a marvelous, simple idea executed beautifully.”—Book Riot (

“Let’s just be upfront: I want this book, badly, and I am in no way, shape, or form, a child.”—Bustle (

Rad American Women A-Z is back in stock at City Lights Books! Click here ( for ordering info.

Highlights from City Lights Podcast

– Carmen Boullosa ( in conversation with Scott Esposito, discussing her new book, Texas: the Great Theft

– Celebrating Here on the Edge (, a book about World War II conscientious objectors with author Steve McQuiddy, joined by Steve Dickison and Vladimir Dupre.

Check back each and every Friday for more exclusive recordings ( of every event at City Lights Books.

Highlights from the CITY LIGHTS BLOG

– 5 Questions with authors Eli Horowitz (, Ryan Gattis (, and Viet Thanh Nguyen (

– We continue to look back at 60 years of City Lights publishing ( with the City Lights books of Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of California (

– Celebrate 2015’s National Poetry Month ( with this poetry playlist, featuring City Lights authors past and present.

– Planet News (, a weekly roundup of literature-related goings-on around the Internet.

– So much has been done. So much to be done. Excerpts from In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now ( by Ben Hedin

All that and so much more on the City Lights Blog (


May 4 ( – The critically acclaimed author of My Struggle, Karl Ove Knausgaard makes a rare lunch-time visit to City Lights to sign books.

May 5 ( – ZYZZYVA celebrates a new issue on Cinco de Mayo with Jim Gavin, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, Kyle Boelte, and James Warner, hosted by Oscar Villalon.

May 7 ( – Jim Nisbet returns to City Lights to celebrate the paperback release of The Price of the Ticket.

May 12 ( – Keith P. Feldman discussing his new book A Shadow Over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America.

May 13 ( – Emily Schultz will celebrate the release of The Blondes with a special appearance by Ruth Galm and Rachel Khong; hosted by Kara Levy, San Francisco editor of Joyland Magazine.

May 20 ( – Peaches appears in-the-flesh and talks with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens celebrating the release of Peaches’ new book What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches.

May 21* ( – Comedian Greg Proops will celebrate his new book The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool; co-presented by Green Arcade.

Event held offsite at McRoskey Mattress Factory, 3rd Floor, 1687 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl ( continue on the Rad American Women ( tour with stops in Alameda and Corte Madera.

Dia Felix ( will read from her debut novel Nochita ( in New York.

David Meltzer ( will discuss Two Way Mirror ( in Ashland and Oakland.

Carey Perloff ( celebrates Beautiful Chaos ( with two talks in San Francisco.

Joanne Kyger ( reads from her new collection On Time ( in New York City joined by Stephen Motika.


Widow Basquiat
A Love Story (

By Jennifer Clement

Broadway Books

Recommended by Don

A vivid portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat in 80s New York City. Graffiti, drugs, music, and the relationship between him and his muse Suzanne Mallouk. This is a sad, moving, and poetic read about this fascinating artist.

Furious Cool (
Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him (
By David Henry, Joe Henry

Picked by Michael

In this loose and lyrical labor of love, brothers David and Joe Henry have brought Richard Pryor back to pulsating life, capturing his spirit and genius and the monumental demons that fueled him. It’s billed as a biography but it’s really more than that, delving deep enough to make you look at Pryor and his legacy in a whole new light.


1. Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! ( by Kate Schatz; illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl (City Lights)

2. Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook ( by David Meltzer (City Lights)

3. Lit Up Inside: Selected Lyrics ( by Van Morrison (City Lights)

4. Girl in a Band: A Memoir ( by Kim Gordon (Dey Street)

5. This Present Moment: New Poems by Gary Snyder (Counterpoint)

6. Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will by Judith Schalansky, translated by Christine Lo (Penguin)

7. The Sympathizer: A Novel ( by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove)

8. The Sellout: A Novel ( by Paul Beatty (FSG)

9. H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald (Grove)

10. The Meaning of Human Existence by Edward O. Wilson (Liveright)


1. Bad Feminist: Essays ( by Roxane Gay (HarperCollins)

2. Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco ( by Gary Kamiya (Bloomsbury)

3. Euphoria: A Novel ( by Lily King (Grove)

4. How to Grow Up: A Memoir ( by Michelle Tea (Plume)

5. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor)

6. Redeployment by Phil Klay (Penguin)

7. The Gunman: Movie Tie-In Edition ( by Jean-Patrick Manchette; translated by James Brook (City Lights)

8. The Good Lord Bird: A Novel ( by James McBride (Riverhead)

9. The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine ( by Henry A. Giroux (City Lights)

10. The Poetry Deal: San Francisco Poet Laureate Series No. 5 ( by Diane di Prima (City Lights Foundation)










City Lights Booksellers & Publishers | 261 Columbus Ave. San Francisco, CA 94133 | 415.362.8193

261 Columbus Ave. | San Francisco, CA 94133 US

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