October 13, 2010

the light at City Lights Bookstore


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

City Lights Bookstore receives a strong morning light.   This assumes that it is not a cloudy or foggy day -- a strong possibility in a cloudy and foggy city like San Francisco.   And yes, San Francisco IS built on a 45 degree angle.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Even though he retired two years after starting it, City Lights Bookstore was the inspiration of Peter D. Martin, who relocated from New York City to San Francisco in the 1940s to teach sociology but ended up selling and publishing books.

City Lights was in homage to the Chaplin film and in 1952 City Lights was used as the title of a magazine, publishing early work by key Bay Area writers as Philip Lamantia, Pauline Kael, Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

City Lights is an independent bookstore-publisher combination that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics. It also houses the nonprofit City Lights Foundation, which publishes titles related to San Francisco culture.   Think "Beatnik"

Both the store and the publishers became widely known following the obscenity trial of Ferlinghetti for publishing Allen Ginsberg's influential poem Howl and Other Poems (City Lights, 1956).



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Oh, I haven't been inside in years so I suppose I'm due for another visit.   I walk past a lot, but seldom during hours they are open.   I gave my copy of HOWL away years ago -- need a new one.



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Your comments are invited and welcome.

5 comments:

photowannabe said...

Love the history of the City you give us. I don't think I have ever been in City Lights. That's hard to believe. Someday, maybe...

Jennifer said...

Okay, I'm a new fan.

AphotoAday said...

HI PHOTOWANNABE SUE -- Oh gosh, am I really already remembering history? I'm turning into an old fossil at an alarming rate.

AND HI JENNIFER -- Love your blog -- Hey everybody, click on Jen's "realia" in my sidebar and you'll like what you see.

sfmike said...

Donald, do go in. The bookstore still has some of the best vibes in the city. And you can take pictures too.

AphotoAday said...

THANKS, SF MIKE, FOR THE INFO

 
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