City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology
"Printer's ink is the greatest explosive."—Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded the City Lights publishing house sixty years ago in 1955, launching the press with his now legendary Pocket Poets Series. First in the series was Pictures of the Gone World—the only book of his own poems that Ferlinghetti would ever publish at City Lights. Within a year, he had brought out two more volumes, translations by Kenneth Rexroth and then poems by Kenneth Patchen. But it was the success and scandal of number four, Howl & Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg (1956), that put City Lights on the map, positioning the Pocket Poets Series at the forefront of the literary counterculture.
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 three poems from each of the sixty volumes, including the work of 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, Phillip Lamantia, Malcolm Lowry, and many more of the Pocket Poets Series innovative, influential, and often groundbreaking American and international poets.
Ferlinghetti provides a fresh introduction that looks back at the inspiration for the series, why certain poets were included, and who were the ones that got away. His behind-the-scenes, personal anecdotes provide priceless insights that shed new light on his vision and his editorial practices at a time when the Pocket Poets Series was shaping the contours of poetry's avant-garde.