LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

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

   

New and Forthcoming from City Lights Publishers

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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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ELADATL
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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Dispatches from the Race War
Tim Wise
Essays on racial flashpoints, white denial, violence, and the manipulation of fear in America today. "Drawing on events from the killing of Trayvon Martin to the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Wise calls to account his fellow white citizens and exhorts them to combat racist power structures."—The New York Times

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Funeral Diva
Pamela Sneed
A poetic memoir about coming-of-age in the AIDS era, and its effects on life and art. "She is a writer for the future, in that she defies genre."—Hilton Als

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Every Day We Get More Illegal
Juan Felipe Herrera
A State of the Union from the nation's first Latino Poet Laureate. Trenchant, compassionate, and filled with hope.

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Under the Dome
Walks with Paul Celan
Jean Daive
An arresting memoir of the final years and tragic suicide of one of twentieth-century Europe's greatest poets, published on the centenary of his birth.

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ReTargeting Iran
David Barsamian
A timely primer on the conflict between the United States and Iran by scholars of Middle Eastern politics who advocate diplomacy and de-escalation.

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Natch
City Lights Spotlight Series No. 20
Sophia Dahlin
Queer pastoral lyrics take on the romantic sublime in a stunningly assured debut collection.

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Facing You
City Lights Spotlight Series No. 19
Uche Nduka
From acclaimed Nigeria-born, Brooklyn-based poet Uche Nduka, a book of love poems written with compact elegance and vivid eroticism.

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Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?
Mumia Abu-Jamal
"A must-read for anyone interested in social justice and inequalities, social movements, the criminal justice system, and African American history. An excellent companion to Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and Ava DuVernay's documentary '13th'."—Library Journal, Starred Review

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No Fascist USA!
The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and Lessons for Today's Movements
Hilary Moore, James Tracy
"Smash fascism! Read this book!"––Tom Morello, songwriter and guitarist with Rage Against the Machine