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—and 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 retrospective celebrating 60 years of publishing and cultural history, this edition provides an invaluable distillation of the energetic, iconoclastic and still fresh body of work represented in the ongoing series. Ferlinghetti has selected a handful of poems from each of the sixty volumes, including the work of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Corso, Pasolini, Voznesensky, Prévert, Mayakovsky, Cortázar, O’Hara, Ponsot, Levertov, di Prima, Duncan, Lamantia, Lowry, and more, all of the Pocket Poets Series’ innovative, influential, and often ground-breaking American and international poets.