Poetry & Poetry Criticism

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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A Murder
Maggie Nelson
Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson's aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969.
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Collected Poems
Marie Ponsot
Marie Ponsot's Collected Poems is the stunning lifework of the prizewinning poet, gathered in one volume: the world she has made of life’s fire for sixty years. The present celebratory volume covers nearly all of her published work, from True Minds (1956), which was number five in the famous City Lights Pocket Poets series...
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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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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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Bukowski in a Sundress
Confessions from a Writing Life
Kim Addonizio
Kim Addonizio is used to being exposed. As a writer of provocative poems and stories, she has encountered success along with snark: one critic dismissed her as "Charles Bukowski in a sundress." ("Why not Walt Whitman in a sparkly tutu?" she muses.) Now, in this utterly original memoir in essays, she opens up to chronicle the joys and indignities..
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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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Out of Print
City Lights Spotlight No. 14
Julien Poirier
New in the City Lights Spotlight Series: Out of Print is a bicoastal surrealistic political poetry extravaganza.
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Music for Mussolini
Nick Johnson
Excellent debut from San Francisco-via-Baltimore poet Nick Johnson, which is stuctured in musical movements in order to deconstruct and reconstruct his world—both fictional and real, political and apolitical. Like getting to know someone. —Recommended by Chris, City Lights Publishers
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Poems 1961-2013
Amiri Baraka
Fusing the personal and the political in high-voltage verse, Amiri Baraka was one of the preeminent literary innovators of the past century. This volume comprises the fullest spectrum of his rousing, revolutionary poems, from his first collection to unpublished pieces composed during his final years.
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Incidents of Travel in Poetry
New and Selected Poems
Frank Lima, Garrett Caples, Julien Poirier
New and selected work by a major Latino poet, the best kept secret of the New York School.
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Pictures of the Gone World
60th Anniversary Edition
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The volume that launched City Lights' iconic Pocket Poets Series, Lawrence Ferlinghetti's first collection of poems, in an anniversary edition.
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To Love as Aswang
Songs, Fragments, and Found Objects
Barbara Jane Reyes
The Philippine aswang is a mythic, monstrous creature which has, since colonial times, been associated with female transgression, scapegoating, and social shaming, known in Tagalog as hiya. In the 21st century, and in diaspora, she manages to endure. Barbara Jane Reyes's To Love as Aswang, the poet and a circle of Filipino American women...
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Trout's Lie
Percival Everett
In Trout's Lie, Percival Everett explores the semantic relationship between sense and so-called nonsense—and questions whether either is actually possible.

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