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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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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Anybody
Poems
Ari Banias
In Anybody, Ari Banias takes up questions of recognition and belonging: how boundaries are drawn and managed, the ways he and she, us and them, here and elsewhere are kept separate, and at what cost identities and selves are forged. Moving through iconic and imagined landscapes, Anybody confronts the strangeness of being alive...
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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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Of Being Dispersed
Simone White
I keep thinking if I keep this book close to me then Simone White will befriend me and share her brilliant thoughts as she moves through the world, but until then I'll just keep reading this stellar collection. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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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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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 work. —Recommended by Chris, City Lights Publishers
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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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Of Poetry & Protest
From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin
This extraordinary volume collects the poems of forty-four of America's most talented African American wordsmiths, including Pulitzer Prize– winning poets Rita Dove, Natasha Tretheway, Yusef Komunyakaa and Tracy K. Smith, as well as the work of other luminaries such as Elizabeth Alexander, Ishmael Reed, Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez.
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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 Art of Forgetting
Andrei Codrescu
Review "This poetry punk's supreme corruption is The Art of Forgetting. Like genial Borges, Codrescu is unforgettable. Horror of Codrescu is he is fun. Not serious like Putin who kills for fun. Andrei is a word tsar and wonder smith making crooked beauty. Banish him to an African game park. The giraffes will play polo, hippos rock..."

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