City Lights at the Bay Area Book Festival

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The 2nd annual Bay Area Book Festival (or as we call it, BABF) is on June 4 & 5, Saturday and Sunday in downtown Berkeley. Last year was a pretty spectacular event and this year seems even better. City Lights Publishers will have a booth on “Radical Row” (on Allston between Milvia & Shattuck) alongside our friends at AK Press, Counterpoint/Soft Skull, Last Gasp, Moe’s Books, Small Press Distribution, PM Press, ZYZZYVA, and many others. Come and hang out with us.

We’ll have all of our new publications on sale for 30% off, as well as tote bags, bookmarks, and bumper stickers. Go here for the list of great authors participating, here for the festival map, and keep your eye on the BABF Twitter account for updates.

There are also a handful of City Lights authors taking part in panel discussions and performances at the book fair. Here are the ones you’ll need to check out.


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1. Thursday, June 2 at 7:30PM – SOLD OUT

Location: San Francisco Chronicle Stage at the Freight & Salvage

Event: “An Evening with Saul Williams”

Who: Saul Williams, Chinaka Hodge, Black Spirituals

Details: Feature presenter Saul Williams has shared his music and spoken word performances in over 30 countries, with invitations from world-class venues such as the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, The Louvre, The Getty Center, and Queen Elizabeth Hall. At Berkeley’s own San Francisco Chronicle Stage at the Freight & Salvage, hack into Williams’ mind as he navigates “poetry as design,” performing selections from two dynamic new works: US(a.) and Martyr Loser King. Also featured in performance are avant-garde explorative jazz musicians, Black Spirituals, and Oakland based poet, screenwriter, curator, and educator, Chinaka Hodge.

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Rad Women Read Rad American Women A-Z : Destiny Muhammad Reads “H Is for Hazel Scott”

After a brief hiatus, we’re back with another episode of Rad Women Read Rad American Women A-Z’! This week, we welcomed Oakland-based jazz harpist Destiny Muhammad to our offices to read about Hazel Scott, an icon of jazz that also stood for justice. Destiny shares why it’s important to stand up for what you believe in early in life and to be “unapologetically rad” even if that means losing some friends in the process.

This is the next installment in the video series from City Lights where we ask women we admire to read their favorite entry of our New York Times-bestselling children’s book, Rad American Women A-Zand answer some questions about what it means to be a rad woman today. The book is authored by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahland published by City Lights/Sister Spit.

Destiny Muhammad is a performing artist/singer-songwriter on harp. Her genre ‘Celtic to Coltrane’ is cool and eclectic with a feel of Jazz & storytelling to round out the sonic experience. Destiny has opened for The Oakland East Bay Symphony, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Azar Lawrence, Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, John Santos and co-starred in Def Jam Poetry Winner Ise Lyfe’s Hip Hop Play Pistols & Prayers to name a few. She has also headlined for the “Women in Jazz” Concert series in San Francisco. Destiny is expanding her musical ideals with her project(s) S.O.N.G/ Strings of a Nubian Groove Nubian string ensemble, The Destiny Muhammad Project, & The Richard Howell Quintet (RHQ). Destiny is Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, San Francisco Chapter, Jazz Heritage Center of San Francisco Jazz Ambassador and an ASCAP Songwriter Awardee.


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5 Questions with Margaret Guroff, author of The Mechanical Horse

mechanical horseOn Tuesday, April 17, City Lights and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition are proud to present an evening with Margaret Guroff. Guroff will celebrate her new book, The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life from University of Texas Press. Anna Gore of the SF Bicycle Coalition will present an opening statement.

Margaret answered our 5 questions. More about her, and her answers, below.

Event: Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00PM. 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133

About The Mechanical Horse: With cities across the country adding miles of bike lanes and building bike-share stations, bicycling is enjoying a new surge of popularity in America. It seems that every generation or two, Americans rediscover the freedom of movement, convenience, and relative affordability of the bicycle. The earliest two-wheeler, the draisine, arrived in Philadelphia in 1819 and astonished onlookers with the possibility of propelling themselves “like lightning.” Two centuries later, the bicycle is still the fastest way to cover ground on gridlocked city streets.

Filled with lively stories, The Mechanical Horse reveals how the bicycle transformed American life. As bicycling caught on in the nineteenth century, many of the country’s rough, rutted roads were paved for the first time, laying a foundation for the interstate highway system. Cyclists were among the first to see the possibilities of self-directed, long-distance travel, and some of them (including a fellow named Henry Ford) went on to develop the automobile. Women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. And doctors recognized that aerobic exercise actually benefits the body, which helped to modernize medicine. Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle’s story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life.

“Fascinating . . . Guroff does an admirable job reminding us of the bicycle’s lasting influence . . . [Her] book provides a colorful and helpful map of where we’ve been, and where we all might go from here.” —The Wall Street Journal


About Margaret Guroff: Margaret Guroff is a magazine editor. She is also the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick, an online annotation of Herman Melville’s classic novel. She teaches writing at the Johns Hopkins University.

About Anna Gore: Anne Gore is Membership Manager of the SF Bicycle Coalition. She joined the staff in August of 2012 and has been in her position since June of 2013. Before moving to San Francisco, she was an active transportation advocate in her home state of Georgia and earned her Master’s of Environmental Planning and Design from the University of Georgia. As a resident of the Inner Sunset, you might catch her commuting to work on the wiggle or biking around Golden Gate Park (often with her dog in tow) on the weekends.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Margaret Guroff: My husband brought me there during our first San Francisco trip–he is a huge fan of the store from his younger days and wanted me to see it. I remember checking out the poetry selection to make sure Howard Nemerov was well represented. And we got T-shirts! The full tourist experience, I’m afraid.

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5 Questions with Viet Thanh Nguyen (Part 2!), Author of Nothing Ever Dies

nothing ever diesPulitzer-Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen is our first-ever return guest for 5 questions! Last time, he was in town promoting his acclaimed novel, The Sympathizer. Since his visit, the book has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer.

This week on Wednesday, May 4, he will be discussing his new book of nonfiction at City Lights Bookstore, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, (published by Harvard University Press). with the one and only Maxine Hong Kingston. This event is not to be missed. More about Viet, and his answers, below.

Event: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 7PM. 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133

About Nothing Ever Dies: All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the bestselling novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of the conflict Americans call the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War—a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both nations.

From a kaleidoscope of cultural forms—novels, memoirs, cemeteries, monuments, films, photography, museum exhibits, video games, souvenirs, and more—Nothing Ever Dies brings a comprehensive vision of the war into sharp focus. At stake are ethical questions about how the war should be remembered by participants that include not only Americans and Vietnamese but also Laotians, Cambodians, South Koreans, and Southeast Asian Americans. Too often, memorials valorize the experience of one’s own people above all else, honoring their sacrifices while demonizing the “enemy”—or, most often, ignoring combatants and civilians on the other side altogether. Visiting sites across the United States, Southeast Asia, and Korea, Viet Thanh Nguyen provides penetrating interpretations of the way memories of the war help to enable future wars or struggle to prevent them.

Drawing from this war, Nguyen offers a lesson for all wars by calling on us to recognize not only our shared humanity but our ever-present inhumanity. This is the only path to reconciliation with our foes, and with ourselves. Without reconciliation, war’s truth will be impossible to remember, and war’s trauma impossible to forget.

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About Viet Thanh Nguyen: Viet Thanh Nguyen is an associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the novel The Sympathizer, from Grove/Atlantic (2015). The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, the Carnegie Medal for  Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Fiction from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. It is also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, an Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. The novel made it to over thirty book-of-the-year lists, including The Guardian, The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal,,, and The Washington Post.

About Maxine Hong Kingston is a Chinese American author and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a BA in English in 1962. Kingston has written three novels and several works of non-fiction about the experiences of Chinese immigrants living in the United States.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Viet Thanh Nguyen: Sitting in the green room, a.k.a. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s office,
waiting for the reading to start. Writers’ rooms are always mysterious places, at least to other writers and to readers. I wondered if I was sitting in a seat where some great work had been written, and hoped some of the magic would rub off on me.

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5 Questions with Ali Eteraz, Author of Native Believer

NativeBelieverVery excited to welcome Ali Eteraz, who is at City Lights on Tuesday, May 3 celebrating his new book, Native Believer: A Novel, published by Akashic. He’ll be discussing the book with writer/journalist Vanessa Hua. Ali took the time to answer our 5 questions. More about him, and his answers, below.

About Native Believer: Ali Eteraz’s much-anticipated debut novel is the story of M., a supportive husband, adventureless dandy, lapsed believer, and second-generation immigrant who wants nothing more than to host parties and bring children into the world as full-fledged Americans. As M.’s world gradually fragments around him—a wife with a chronic illness; a best-friend stricken with grief; a boss jeopardizing a respectable career—M. spins out into the pulsating underbelly of Philadelphia, where he encounters others grappling with fallout from the War on Terror. Among the pornographers and converts to Islam, punks, and wrestlers, M. confronts his existential degradation and the life of a second-class citizen. 

“Eteraz’s narrative is witty and unpredictable . . . and the darkly comic ending is pleasingly macabre. As for M., in this identity-obsessed dandy, Eteraz has created a perfect protagonist for the times. A provocative and very funny exploration of Muslim identity in America today.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In bitingly funny prose, first novelist Eteraz sums up the pain and contradictions of an American not wanting to be categorized; the ending is a bang-up surprise.”
Library Journal, Top Spring Indies Fiction Selection

About Ali Eteraz: Ali Eteraz is based at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. He is the author of the coming-of-age memoir Children of Dust (HarperCollins) and the surrealist short story collection Falsipedies & Fibsiennes (Guernica Ed.). Eteraz’s short fiction has appeared in the Chicago Quarterly Review, storySouth, and Crossborder, and his nonfiction has been highlighted by NPR, The New York Times, and the Guardian. Recently, Eteraz received the 3 Quarks Daily Arts & Literature Prize judged by Mohsin Hamid, and served as a consultant to the artist Jenny Holzer on a permanent art installation in Qatar. Eteraz has lived in the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf, and Alabama. Native Believer is his debut novel.

Photo by Charles Mujie

About Vanessa Hua: Vanessa Hua is an award-winning writer and journalist. For nearly two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award for Fiction, and is a past Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, FRONTLINE/World, Washington Post, Guernica, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. A former staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, she has filed stories from China, South Korea, Panama, Burma and Ecuador. Deceit and Other Possibilities, her debut story collection, will be published this fall (Willow Books).


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Ali Eteraz: I have been to City Lights a few times. Most recently was for a reading featuring the poet Shailja Patel, whose Migritude collection has been a huge hit among my friends. I have also wandered into the store at other times and gotten lost in the Existentialism section. It is also possible that I came in already-existentialist and simply stared at a stack of books and thought I was reading existentialism. One thing I have never done is to stop by the store solely to go to the bathroom. You’re welcome.

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5 Questions with Jewelle Gomez, Author of The Gilda Stories

gilda_cover_fullCity Lights just released the 25th Anniversary Edition of Jewelle Gomez‘s classic novel, The Gilda Stories. We had a big celebration at City Lights Bookstore on April 13, 2016 with Jewelle reading selections from the book to the many vampires in attendance.

Jewelle continues to tour, and this Saturday, April 30, she’ll be at Laurel Books in Oakland, CA. Her other tour stops in May include Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, among others. She took the time to answer our five questions. More about Jewelle and The Gilda Stories below.

About The Gilda Stories: This remarkable novel begins in 1850s Louisiana, where Gilda escapes slavery and learns about freedom while working in a brothel. After being initiated into eternal life as one who “shares the blood” by two women there, Gilda spends the next 200 years searching for a place to call home. An instant lesbian classic when it was first published in 1991, The Gilda Stories has endured as an auspiciously prescient book in its explorations of blackness, radical ecology, redefinitions of family, and yes, the erotic potential of the vampire story.

The Gilda Stories is groundbreaking not just for the wild lives it portrays, but for how it portrays them—communally, unapologetically, roaming fiercely over space and time.”—Emma Donoghue, author of Room

About Jewelle Gomez: Jewelle Gomez is a writer and activist and the author of the double Lambda Award-winning novel, The Gilda Stories (1991). Her adaptation of the book for the stage Bones & Ash: A Gilda Story, was performed by the Urban Bush Women Theater Company in thirteen US cities. The script was published as a Triangle Classic by the Paperback Book Club. Her other publications include The Lipstick Papers, Flamingoes and Bears, and Oral Tradition. She edited (with Eric Garber) a fantasy fiction anthology entitled Swords of the Rainbow and selected the fiction for The Best Lesbian Erotica of 1997 (Cleis). She is also the author a book of personal and political essays entitled Forty-Three Septembers and a collection of short fiction, Don’t Explain. Formerly the executive director of the Poetry Center and the American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University she has also worked in philanthropy for many years. She is the former director of the Literature program at the New York State Council on the Arts and the director of Grants and Community Initiatives for Horizon and the President of the San Francisco Library Commission. She lives in San Francisco.

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City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Jewelle Gomez: I’ve been to many readings at City Lights but one of my favorites was an evening about five years ago with Margaret Randall, whose work I really admire. The event was perfectly representative of who I imagine she’d be: an amazingly eclectic collection of people from all parts of her life. There was so much wondrous political conversation before she read. Then her work is so galvanizing the discussion after was buzzing. It was emblematic, to me, of her life and what City Lights has meant to the literary world.

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Remembering Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore, July 30, 1940 – April 18, 2016

By Nancy Peters


Thinking of Daniel recently, I found in my bookcase a treasured copy of his poetry book Dawn Visions, which City Lights published in 1964. It is one of 50 limited-edition copies, the covers of which Daniel had hand-painted with bright Blakean images–moon, fire, wings, dark angel, and a path up a mountain to a radiant castle. I was struck by the book’s dedication to Indian musician Ali Akbar Khan and Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, which I didn’t remember having read before:

—you sit in the radiant Grove
and everything’s ear is a
cupped transparent shell for your sound—

This seems to me now a perfect emblem for Daniel himself, a bright, graceful and open spirit who created wonderful poetry, translations, theater, paintings, songs, opera, libretti, essays, and works for children. It was a delight to spend time with him, for he had an inquiring mind and a wry sense of humor.

When, in 1970, Moore became a Muslim, having discovered in Islam the spiritual path that was right for him, he took the name Abdal Hayy and spent several years traveling in North Africa and Europe, active in the Sufi community.

City Lights published his second book of poems, Burnt Heart: Ode to the War Dead, a response to the Vietnam tragedy, in 1972. A great many more visionary volumes of poetry followed. His website The Ecstatic Exchange confirms the wide range of his prolific life as an artist in many media over half a century.

daniel moore books
Dawn Visions (City Lights, 1964) & Burnt Heart: Ode to the War Dead (City Lights, 1971)

Carolyn Forché aptly called Moore a “surrealist of the sacred.” Like his friend Philip Lamantia, everything interested him, all things taking part in the consciousness-cosmos he was impelled to explore. He pressed language to its limits, seeking image and sound that might put words to the unnameable Mystery.

Daniel was perhaps best known as the originator of the Floating Lotus Magic Opera. At the high point of the counterculture in the Bay Area, the FLMO presented two unforgettable open-air ritual dramas in Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park, ecstatic productions inspired by the chanting of Tibetan monks, Kathakali ritual, Asian folk and religious theater, as well as the flow of the 60s psychedelic zeitgeist. Staged at night and illuminated only by firelight, Moore used the natural environment to great advantage. “Our thirst for the primordial keeps us from using electricity to amplify any of the instruments or actors.” This was the central idea:

The whole vision is designed to be performed outside in the raw air of IT
on a hillside after civilizations blow all their plugs,
and still the spirit dances, approachable and manifestable
within us. . . .

Daniel’s vision attracted poets, musicians, dancers, actors, and artists, many of whom collaborated in this theatrical tour de force, as actors or as makers of beautiful costumes and painted masks, sets and backdrops. The drama itself involved an intense conflict between good and evil forces; actors wearing fantastic masks, and playing gongs & drums & horns, transformed the violent energies of war into an illuminated and jubilant space.

In her memoir, the painter Ariel Parkinson captured the experience. She suggested that . . . “Daniel’s vision was difficult for most people to stomach, his critique of this bloated, exploded planet and what transformation requires. Daniel had valuable ideas, poetic and philosophical, to express the age in a powerful way. Building a culture requires building a world of Imagination and Vision . . . The Foating Lotus Magic Opera existed. It exists. I took Daniel’s magic with me.”

All of us who knew Daniel and admired his work will take his magic with us.

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5 Questions with Reverend Billy, Author of The Earth Wants YOU

87286100270160LEarthalujah! City Lights is excited to welcome Reverend Billy Talen back to our store on Wednesday, April 20. This time he’ll be celebrating the release of his new book, The Earth Wants YOU, which City Lights is proud to publish. The Reverend took the time to answer our 5 Questions as he traverses the United States on his book tour. More about him, and his answers, below.

Event: Wednesday, April 20, 7:00PM. City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133.

About The Earth Wants YOU: The Earth Wants YOU is a motivational handbook for earth activists, filled with inspired visions of a wild, creative, Earth-led cultural revolution. Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping offer up a heady mix of humor, insightful critique, passionate commitment, emotional catharsis, and example after example of vibrant direct action. Stop shopping and feel the love as you sign up for the struggle of our lives!


About Reverend Billy: William Talen moved to New York City from San Francisco in the early 1990s, where he had originally created a character that was a hybrid of street preacher, arguably Elvis, and televangelist called Reverend Billy. In New York, Talen began appearing as Reverend Billy on street corners in Times Square, near the recently opened Disney Store. Whereas other street preachers chose Times Square because of its reputation for sin, Reverend Billy’s sermons focused on the evils of consumerism and advertising—represented especially by Disney and Mickey Mouse—and on what Talen saw as the loss of neighborhood spirit and cultural authenticity in Rudolph Giuliani’s New York.

Talen is the author of various books, including What Would Jesus Buy?, which was also the title of Morgan Spurlock’s 2007 documentary about Reverend Billy and his mission. Though Talen does not call himself a Christian, he says that Reverend Billy is not entirely a parody of a preacher, and his Church of Stop Shopping has grown to number in the thousands.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Reverend Billy: Well I read Visions of Cody and then looked out my Wisconsin window and there was the highway and I put my thumb out. In the 70’s and 80’s I hitched everywhere and every off-ramp was an experience waiting, a job on a ranch, a love, a building full of squatters. Eventually I could be found lurking in the book store in North Beach, of course.

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5 Questions for Julien Poirier, Author of Out of Print

Always a special nighOutOfPrintt when we celebrate one of our own publications at City Lights! Julien Poirier reads from his new poetry collection, Out of Print, No. 14 in the City Lights Spotlight Series, at our bookstore on Tuesday, April 19. Joining him is fellow Spotlight Series poet Elaine Kahn, author of Women in Public. Julien answered our 5 questions. More about him, and his answers, below.

Event: Tuesday, April 19th, 7:00PM. City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, 261 Columbus Ave., San Franicsco, CA 94133.

About Out of Print: The third full-length collection by Julien Poirier, Out of Print is a truly bicoastal volume, reflecting the poet’s years in New York as well as his return to his Bay Area roots. Consider it a meetinghouse between late New York School and contemporary California surrealism, a series of quips intercepted from America’s underground poetry telegraph, or an absurdist mirror held up to consumerist culture.

“Julien Poirier’s poems calibrate the vernacular in a sublime mathematics of commonalities. The effect is that of feelings on the run, enunciated clearly. In a sudden down-draught–’You’re wind, you melt on my tongue’–he’ll take the contemporary love poem into new stretches of believability while knowingly calling to account the failings that, whether perennial or merely topical, hem round ourselves to disastrous effect. For, no mistake, Out of Print means business: a forceful wake-up call, allowing as how for this old world the time for meaningful action may well have run out and we’ve joined the fabled damned, lost but for such eloquence, affection, and mad, mad laughter in Hell’s despite.”–Bill Berkson

About Julien Poirier: Julien Poirier is the author of several poetry collections, including El Golpe Chileño (Ugly Duckling, 2010), Stained Glass Windows of California (Ugly Duckling, 2012), Way Too West (Bootstrap, 2015) and Out of Print (City Lights, 2016). In 2005, he published an experimental newspaper novel, Living! Go and Dream (Ugly Duckling). With Garrett Caples, he is the co-editor of Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems by Frank Lima. He is also the editor of an anthology of writing by Jack Micheline, One of a Kind (Ugly Duckling, 2008), and a book of travel journals by Bill Berkson, Invisible Oligarchs (Ugly Duckling, 2016). A founding member of Ugly Duckling Presse Collective, Poirier edited the newspaper New York Nights from 2001 to 2006. He has taught poetry in New York City public schools and at San Quentin State Prison. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and two daughters.

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City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Julien Poirier: I remember meeting Dennis Hopper at City Lights in the early 90s, during the filming of a scene in Flashback. The store was full of booms and wires but still open for business. I was buying a book when Dennis Hopper walked through the front door in a buckskin hippie jacket and make-up. I said, “Dennis Hopper!” He said, “Hi.”

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Selections from The Beats Abroad by Bill Morgan

BeatsAbroadThe Beats Abroad: A Global Guide to the Beat Generation presents the fourth installment in Bill Morgan’s Beat Guidebooks, this time chronicling the travels of America’s greatest countercultures’ many international visits. While the Beat Generation claims its roots in New York and San Francisco during the 1940s and 50s, its writers traveled and lived all over the world, seeking inspiration from the different cultures and literary scenes.  Beat historian Bill Morgan traces both the influence that international epicenters such as Paris, Tangiers, and Mexico City had on the Beats and the influence they had on writers abroad. The book includes an introduction and postscript by Morgan, as well as extensive and detailed notes on the hundreds of entries included in the book.

Arranged geographically by continent, country, and city, Beats Abroad serves as a travel book that illuminates the lives of Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, Corso, and others. Including addresses for a number of these places, Beats Abroad can provide an intimate sightseeing tour for travelers. It locates specific places like the hotel in Tangiers where Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch, the tiny Parisian hotel that became home to many of the less-than-wealthy writers, and the concert hall in London where Bob Dylan influenced Allen Ginsberg to hold a poetry reading for 7,000 attendees.

Here follows a sampling of the entries accompanied by a few of the hundreds of photos one can find in the book.

Allen Ginsberg in Jerusalem:

Late one night Allen disappeared and didn’t return to his hotel room. It turned out Allen had sneaked across the border into Palestinian territory and spent several days with boys who made a living collecting spent Israeli ammunition for scrap metal.  Allen found it sadly ironic when they showed him fragments of bombs made in America by the Bethlehem Steel company.

Gary Snyder in Kyoto, Japan

In May 1965, Gary Snyder arrived in Japan on the freighter Arita Maru, determined to pursue studies at the Shokoku-ji Zen Temple in Kyoto under the tutelage of Miura Isshu Roshi.  This was very unusual for a Westerner at the time.  Gary would remain in Japan off and on for the next decade, studying Rinzai Zen, writing, and translating poetry from the Japanese.  In the summers he went backpacking with friends, exploring the country’s wilderness areas, and he climbed many mountains in the north during his first year here.

snyder kyoto


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