LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

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

We are sad to announce that Lawrence Ferlinghetti, distinguished American poet, artist, and founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, has died in San Francisco, California. He was 101 years old. 

Ferlinghetti was instrumental in democratizing American literature by creating (with Peter D. Martin) 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, those of us who have worked with him 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. His curiosity was unbounded and his enthusiasm was infectious, and we will miss him greatly.

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. 

When plans are finalized, we'll announce them widely via social media, our website, and in the mainstream media. 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.

 


For media inquries, contact Stacey Lewis: stacey@citylights.com

 

New at City Lights Bookstore

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Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
Ibram X. Kendi, Keisha N. Blain
--Recommended by Paul

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The Prophets
Robert Jones Jr.
--Recommended by Paul

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The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart
Alicia Garza
An essential guide to building transformative movements to address the challenges of our time, from one of the country's leading organizers and a co-creator of Black Lives Matter --Recommended by Paul

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Let's Talk About Your Wall
Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis
Alberto Quintero , Carmen Boullosa
At last a book that explains the Border Wall from the Mexican perspective. An array of Journalists, novelists, and documentary makers, all based in Mexico, help expand our North American view on what this evil American monument really represents. --Recommended by Josiah

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The Dead Are Arising
The Life of Malcolm X
Les Payne, Tamara Payne
An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author's interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative.

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For Now
Eileen Myles
In this raucous meditation, Eileen Myles offers an intimate glimpse into creativity's immediacy.

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His Truth Marching On
John Lewis and the Power of Hope
Jon Meacham
An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America

   

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