Poetry, Poetry Criticism & Poetry Biography

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.



   
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Envelope Poems
Emily Dickinson, Jen Bervin, Marta Werner
Although a very prolific poet, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) published fewer than a dozen poems. Instead, she created small handmade books. In her later years, she stopped producing these, but she continued to write a great deal, and at her death she left behind many poems, drafts, and letters.
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Dwelling
Poems
Aliki Barnstone
"For Aliki Barnstone, poetry seems a natural medium. The vision and cadences of these poems suggest a sensibility for which poetry is as inevitable as breathing or eating." —Robert Pinsky
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Selected Works
Justin Chin, Jennifer Joseph
A Bay Area legend who knew how to excite readers, make them laugh, leave them devastated. Then, make them fall in love (with him), say "Heck yeah!" & clap their hands until it hurt—it still hurts. A beautiful soul taken too soon. —Recommended by Jared
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Power Ballads
Garrett Caples
A power ballad was a hair metal band's voyage into the softer side of rock, compromising to the integrity of the genre, but genuine and trailblazing. So too is Caples' Power Ballads. His poems and prose pieces are bizarre and hilarious, in which Dylan and Bowie sit alongside the French surrealists, with the occasional turn into heartfelt...
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Save Twilight: Selected Poems
Pocket Poets Number 53
Julio Cortázar
Newly expanded edition of a classic: the first and only collection of Cortázar's poetry to appear in English.
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Jane
A Murder
Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson has a lot of fans on staff at City Lights, and I'm the latest member to join the club. Nelson compellingly portrays the murder of her aunt using a mix of memoir, theory, and poetics. Suggest reading "The Red Parts" (a nonfiction account by Nelson) first. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights, Publishers
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The Little Edges
Fred Moten
The Little Edges is a collection of poems that extends poet Fred Moten's experiments in what he calls "shaped prose"—a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning. Shaped prose is a form that works the "little edges" of lyric and discourse, and radiates out into the space between them.
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Old Angel Midnight
Jack Kerouac
"The only book I've ever written in which I've allowed myself to say absolutely anything I want."—Jack Kerouac
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Afterlives
Poetry
Micah Ballard
AFTERLIVES, or SEVILRETFA as the reversed lettering on the back cover presents it, is the third full-length collection by Micah Ballard. As with recent work, Ballard continues the precarious yet successful envisioning of the spirited haunts of his native Louisiana amidst the streets of his long adopted San Francisco.
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Look
Poems
Solmaz Sharif
Starting with the title itself, Sharif's goal is lterally to pull apart the sterile language and phrasing taken directly from military strategy, analysis, and description, and reveal the complications of life affected by war. This is an astonishing book. —Recommended by Chris, City Lights Publishers
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Mortal Trash
Poems
Kim Addonizio
Chew with your mouth closed and read this book. —Recommended by Ryan
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Bukowski in a Sundress
Confessions from a Writing Life
Kim Addonizio
Behold the memoir of sex-positive rebel Kim Addonizio! This book moves from gritty/funny/sexy, to emotionally raw, in swift seamless strokes. By the end, you will feel that Kim is an old friend whom you know far too well, but who you think the world of because she's way cooler than you are. —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Books
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Dated Emcees
Chinaka Hodge
"These are poems to read every day. To make mantras from. They are the best poems you've ever read."––Daveed Diggs, star of Hamilton
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The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest
Barbara Guest, Hadley Haden Guest
If you're looking for poetry by an avant-garde, modernist woman, you need go further than New York School legend Barbara Guest. From her 1960 debut The Location of Things to her 2005 finale The Red Gaze, this landmark collection places her in the select company of forebears like HD, Mina Loy, and Marianne Moore. —Recommended by Garrett, City Lights

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