March 24, 1919 (Yonkers, New York)  –  February 22, 2021 (San Francisco, California)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, distinguished American poet, artist, and founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, was instrumental in democratizing American literature by creating the country's first all-paperback bookstore in 1953, jumpstarting a movement to make diverse and inexpensive quality books widely available. He envisioned the bookstore as a "Literary Meeting Place," where writers and readers could congregate to share ideas about poetry, fiction, politics, and the arts. Two years later, in 1955, he launched City Lights Publishers, which became a seminal force in shaping American literature.

For over sixty years, all of us at City Lights have been inspired by his knowledge and love of literature, his courage in defense of the right to freedom of expression, and his vital role as an American cultural ambassador. We intend to build on Ferlinghetti's vision and honor his memory by sustaining City Lights into the future as a center for open intellectual inquiry and commitment to literary culture and progressive politics. Though we mourn his passing, we celebrate his many  contributions and give thanks for all the years we were able to work by his side.

We will invite the public to a celebration of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's life at some point later this year, but there is no immediate plan in place. For news, please keep an eye on this website, check the official Ferlinghetti Facebook page, and sign up for our newsletter to keep informed about everything happening at City Lights.


New at City Lights Bookstore

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The Nature of Drugs
History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact
Alexander Shulgin
Long anticipated, The Nature of Drugs presents Sasha Shulgin's popular San Francisco State University course on what drugs are, how they work, how they are processed by the body, and how they affect our society.

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What Strange Paradise: A novel
Omar El Akkad
From the widely acclaimed, best-selling author of American War, a new novel—beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving—that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.

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a novel
Matt Bell
In the vein of Neal Stephenson and Jeff VanderMeer, an epic speculative novel from Young Lions Fiction Award–finalist Matt Bell, a breakout book that explores climate change, manifest destiny, humanity's unchecked exploitation of natural resources, and the small but powerful magic contained within every single apple.

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Wayward: A novel
Dana Spiotta
Dana Spiotta's Wayward is a stunning novel about aging, about the female body, and about female difficulty--female complexity--in the age of Trump. Probing and provocative, brainy and sensual, it is a testament to our weird, off-kilter America, to reforms and resistance and utopian wishes, and to the beauty of ruins.

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Culture Strike
Art and Museums in an Age of Protest
Laura Raicovich
A leading activist museum director explains why museums are at the center of a political storm and how they can be reimagined

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The Second
Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America
Carol Anderson
From the New York Times bestselling author of "White Rage", comes an unflinching, critical new look at the Second Amendment--and how it has been engineered to deny the rights of African Americans since its inception.

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By the Light of Burning Dreams
The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution
David Talbot, Margaret Talbot
New York Times bestselling author David Talbot and New Yorker journalist Margaret Talbot illuminate "America's second revolutionary generation" in this gripping history of one of the most dynamic eras of the twentieth century—brought to life through seven defining radical moments that offer vibrant parallels and lessons for today.

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Living in Data: A Citizen's Guide to a Better Information Future
Jer Thorp
To live in data in the twenty-first century is to be incessantly extracted from, classified and categorized, statisti-fied, sold, and surveilled. In Living in Data, Thorp asks a crucial question of our time: How do we stop passively inhabiting data, and instead become activ

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Double Trio: Tej Bet, So's Notice, Nerve Church
Nathaniel Mackey
This collection in three beautiful volumes corresponds to John Coltrane's Meditations and rises to the level of that great work. Over 35 years of careful composition at the apex of American poetry, or any poetry. --Recommended by Solomon

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Let The Record Show
A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993
Sarah Schulman
Twenty years in the making, Sarah Schulman's LET THE RECORD SHOW is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism -Staff Recommended by Ryan

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Window Seat
Notes from a Life in Motion
Aminatta Forna
A stunning new collection of essays from the award-winning author of Happiness, The Window Seat explores border crossings both literal and philosophical, our relationship with the natural world, and the stories that we tell ourselves

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Sensational: The Hidden History of America's "Girl Stunt Reporters"
Kim Todd
A vivid social history that brings to light the "girl stunt reporters" of the Gilded Age who went undercover to expose corruption and abuse in America, and redefined what it meant to be a woman and a journalist—pioneers whose influence continues to be felt today.

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Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul?
Jesse McCarthy
A supremely talented young critic's essays on race and culture, from Toni Morrison to trap, herald the arrival of a major new voice in American letters.

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This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends
The Cyberweapons Arms Race
Nicole Perlroth
rom The New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth, the untold story of the cyberweapons market-the most secretive, invisible, government-backed market on earth-and a terrifying first look at a new kind of global warfare.

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¡Printing the Revolution!: The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now
Claudia E. Zapata , Terezita Romo , Tatiana Reinoza, E. Carmen Ramos
A groundbreaking look at how Chicano graphic artists and their collaborators have used their work to imagine and sustain identities and political viewpoints during the past half century --recommended by Paul


New and Forthcoming from City Lights Publishers

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Blood on the Fog
Pocket Poets Series No. 62
Tongo Eisen-Martin
Forthcoming September 2021. Radical, outraged, knowing, wry, and deeply humane, poems of survival that soar with a vision of collective liberation. Authored by San Francisco's New Poet Laureate.

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Funeral Diva
Pamela Sneed
Winner of the Lambda Award for Lesbian Poetry! A poetic memoir about coming-of-age in the AIDS era, and its effects on life and art.

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Eat the Mouth That Feeds You
Carribean Fragoza
Carribean Fragoza's debut collection of stories reside in the domestic surreal, featuring an unusual gathering of Latinx and Chicanx voices from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, and universes beyond.

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A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines
Sesshu Foster, Arturo Ernesto Romo
A breathtaking free fall into the long-buried (and fictional) history of a utopian era in American lighter-than-air travel, as told by its death-defying, aero-acrobatic heroes.

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Build Bridges, Not Walls
A Journey to a World Without Borders
Todd Miller
Is it possible to create a borderless world? How might it be better equipped to solve the global emergencies threatening our collective survival? Build Bridges, Not Walls is an inspiring, impassioned call to envision—and work toward—a bold new reality.

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Mule Kick Blues
And Last Poems
Michael McClure, Garrett Caples
The final book of poems from a Beat Generation legend, Mule Kick Blues finds McClure restlessly innovating until the end.

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Spring and Autumn Annals
A Celebration of the Seasons for Freddie
Diane di Prima
Forthcoming October 2021.Lyrical and unforgettable, part elegy and part memoir, we present a previously unpublished masterpiece from the Beat Generation icon. Simultaneously released with an expanded edition of di Prima's classic Revolutionary Letters on the one-year anniversary of her passing.

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Revolutionary Letters: 50th Anniversary Edition
Pocket Poets Series No. 27
Diane di Prima
Forthcoming October 2021.Expanded 50th anniversary edition of the City Lights classic of eco-feminist-Zen Beat poetry, featuring fifteen new poems. Simultaneously released with Diane di Prima's Spring and Autumn Annals on the one-year anniversary of her passing.

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A Quilt for David
Steven Reigns
Forthcoming September 2021.The hidden history of a vulnerable gay man whose life and death were turned into tabloid fodder.