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City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology. I poeti della Beat Generation

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  640 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews

This comprehensive selection from the influential City Lights Pocket Poets series is a landmark retrospective, celebrating forty years of publishing and cultural history.

From the introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti: "Even though some say that an avant-garde in literature no longer exists, the smaller independent publisher is itself still a true avant-garde, its place sti

Published 2006 by Mondadori (first published 1974)
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James Barker
I bought this swanky little collection in the mecca that is the City Lights bookstore in Frisco back in 2003 and while I have dipped into it through the years I chose a rainy weekend for the exercise of reading it cover to cover. It was an exhilarating experience and I will be inevitably returning to certain poets from hereon in and for the necessary third, fourth, fifth read.

It's actually the big Beat names that affected me the least- the Ginsberg stuff I already knew and his work probably take
Picked this up at City Lights while in San Francisco. Being in that store was like a religious experience for a Beat geek like me, especially the little room upstairs. It was like walking in the footsteps of greatness. This is one of my most prized posessions.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is such a great read for National Poetry Month, but it will have to be for next year since it isn't coming out until June. I happily read it early through a review copy from the publisher.

This is a 60 year overview of the poetry published by City Lights, which really was put on the map by its 4th year of poetry - Howl by Allen Ginsburg. This book contains three poems from every annual volume from City Lights, ranging from beat poets to translations, from revolutionaries to activists. If po
More negative than positive here. A collection of poets published by City Lights edited by some chap calling himself Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Includes work by some chap calling himself a poet (also "Jack Kerouac"). Maybe On the Road is better, but the one time I tried reading it, I got off at the first rest stop, walked into Papa Gino's, and never came back. There's a Pablo Picasso poem in here, too. Who knew? And Allen Ginsberg, of course.

Here's typical fare: Julio Cortazar's "A Love Letter"

Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book cut my teeth.
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
Los Angeles Review of Books
"The true marvel of the City Light Pocket Poets Anthology is its reappearance in its 60th year. That represents a venerable tradition (and a long run) for an avant-garde that often mutates too quickly for continuity … just as Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems became the best-selling poetry book of a generation, Ferlinghetti’s own A Coney Island of the Mind, with its insouciant bravado and cheer, has passed the million sales mark. That’s a rare occurrence in these United
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology as a gift and it's been a lot of fun to read. My only complaint is that there is only a small number of women poets included in the selections. Some people may think that Allen Ginsberg is over-represented, but it would be difficult to edit such a book without Ginsberg's work.

The poets come from that '50s and '60s mentality and their work is free-flowing, full of sexual imagery and references to death. Reading the works is energizing, especially if one r
Edmund Davis-Quinn
Some excellent poems, a lot that didn't really touch me.

Really appreciate the work of City Lights and love Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but covers a vast, vast range.

Cool book to browse to discover new poets, but prefer reading chatbooks with more of a theme and time.

Poetry omnibuses tend to be too much.

One of my favorites in the book is Jack Kerouac's "Hymn" ...

Worthwhile, but found myself browsing a lot of the poems/poets that interested me less.

Poetry is easi
For someone like me, who has trouble reading poetry, but still greatly enjoys it and wants to test the waters of all the different poets out there, this anthology was a delight. It's fascinating to read all the different styles and how they get their art across. There were many selections in here that I found fantastic and marked for future reference and enjoyment, so hopefully this is the start of a new literary phase for me, where I can read poetry a lot easier and not feel like a kid learning ...more
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like BEAT poetry (and I wouldn't want a world without all that "Belief and Technique" stuff)or if you just like wander a little further away from the din and clatter of main-stream classics and flavors- of- the- month junk look around inside "City Lights" for awhile. Just be warned... you might not put it down for awhile and don't be surprised if you keep going back to this ballsy little volume of poetry and prose. This is by far one of the best anthologies I'll read many times over.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these poems soared, some rocketed, some collapsed in upon themselves. Many were beautiful, some were moving, others wearisome. But the works collected herein are art, poetry art, and therefore subjective. Those poems that soar for this reader will leave a different reader yawning and bored. And vice versa. Ginsberg features heavily in this collection, and I deeply enjoy Ginsberg. Kerouac is here too, whom I also enjoy, if not quite so profoundly. Of course Ferlinghetti, of course Corso, ...more
Edwin Soto
just finished reading "City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology", a realistic fiction book edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.In this book it's all poets that are being shown with such empathy you can really feel what the poet is trying to express through their writing.I really enjoyed this book the poet was able to make me understand and feel what they were feeling one of my favorite poets from the book was the one that is called "Meditation For This Day" by Antonio Machado it really made me feel calm a ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic (and fantastically wide-ranging) collection of poetry that has been re/published by City Lights Press in San Francisco, CA. Most of the poets are of the Beat Generation, but there is an energy and diversity in the work that makes it fresh even now. Highly recommended, especially if you want a taste for different poets' styles - you can then read more of their work on individual collections.
William West
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read that brought me closer to one of my favorite places in the world. I felt an even greater kinship with the bookstore upon reading this anthology.

Having said that, it is an anthology and its joys and disappointments are as such- i.e. I really liked the work of some of the poets included, some less so, and a few I even found a little embarrassing. I seem to find myself particularly drawn to Italian poetry. The selections from Antonio Porta's collection, "Kisses From Another Dre
Not this Christmas but the last my brother was in the Bay Area to visit friends, and having gone to San Francisco, he found his way to City Lights and picked up this book as a Christmas present.
I like reading anthologies when I'm reading them, but I rarely actually go through one cover to cover. I gave the Pocket Poet Anthology my attention because I hadn't read much of this work in a long time. I'm glad I gave many of these poems a read because it shows me how my taste has changed--or not chang
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction by City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A lot of Ginsberg, though not necessarily his most famous work. A lot of translations, which aren't for me. But it's 300 pages, so there's still room for a lot of quality here. it's just more in the way of portions or segments than complete poems.

#26 - Ferlinghetti
"The Business of Poetry" - Harold Norse
"A Love Letter" - Julio Cortazar

We are the insulted, brother, the desolate boys.
Sleepwalkers in a dark and terrible land,
Kent Winward
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of the expected City Lights favorites are here -- Ginsberg, Kerouac, Rexroth, Patchen, di Prima. The pleasure was in the surprises -- some highlights:

Malcolm Lowry:

"Thoughts leave the pitiless city;/Yet ships themselves are iron and have no pity;/Wile men have hearts and sides that strain and rust."

I'd also recommend Lowry's "The Volcano is Dark" on page 83.

Phillip Lamantia from "Voice of the Earth Mediums"

"We are truly fed up/with mental machines of peace & war/ nuclear monoxide brains
Devin Ware
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the book you take through Hell with you. Not because it is a comfort (although it can be), and not because it is a shield, (although it can be), but because it has already been through hell, and it can serve as a guide for those new to the terrain. The writers and poems in this book, from the fifties through to modern day, are wide and magnificent in their reach and their abilities, and this provides a comprehensive grasp on the pocket poets series as a whole, and also helps you to decid ...more
Jon Corelis
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beat generation poetry anthology to get

City Lights press was of course the major publisher of the mid-century American poetry arising from the movement known as the "beat generation," including such authors as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Bob Kaufman, and City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Beat poetry isn't to everyone's taste, but there's no denying that it was one of the most socially significant and influential literary movements in modern America. This anthology is a sampler:
Mar 14, 2015 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, galley-read
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing a copy to read and review.

Read about half of this anniversary poetry collection but ended up not finishing it for a few reasons: a. I was reading an e-galley whose formatting was really odd, which bothers me quite a bit with poetry if I can't tell whether the line breaks were intentional and whether the author's name references the poem above or below it; b. I have trouble with poetry anthologies that collect multiple authors-- too many sudden
Erik Akre
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: alternative readers of poems or readers of alternative poems
Shelves: poetry
As Garrison Keillor would say, These are "good poems." He would mean it! Especially if Garrison Keillor were Jack Kerouac. There are poems for everyone:

earnest hipsters
progressive intellectuals (maybe, but probably not)
romanticists of railyard bums
smokers of marijuana
people of the glorious Alternative
walkers of nighttime city streets

To put it another way, this comes to mind:
Glance for the moon, see a blue streetlight; smile (grimly or not) at the wad of kleenex and candy wrapper
Dave Logghe
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice little piece of San Francisco history. The volume was published by the very bookstore in which I bought it, and is representative of the beat poet history of said bookstore. It also house the first piece of writing by Jack Kerouac that I actually enjoyed. Success!

It certainly shows that the poetry of that time frame had a very specific diction to it. I enjoyed it as a whole. Some pieces were obviously not as good as others, but for an anthology of writers of whom I was mostly unaware, I
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked here, I really liked, and what I didn't like, I really disliked. That is to say, much Beat poetry doesn't move me or speak to me, but the pieces that do strike a chord tend to reverberate wildly. Best stuff here: excerpts of Ginsberg and Kerouac, obviously, but also pieces by Kenneth Patchen, Marie Ponsot, Bob Kaufman, Anne Waldman, and Alberto Blanco. A good retrospective with a wide range.
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is one of my new treasures ... a little hard cover beauty that often finds its way into my bag just in case i need it ...

every time i open it i find a another poem to love - and it's a sentimental reminder of my visit to City Lights - book lovers' paradise ...

seems i'm not alone in thinking this ...
Jordan West
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, read-96-05
City Lights Anthology (1974): Five stars for the self-contained surrealist anthology edited by participants in the movement themselves; an excellent selection containing works not found anywhere else.
Jun 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally forced myself to read every page of this book instead of simply the ones I stumbled across. Definitely engaged in some more challenging poems that I had previously avoided, and enjoying them. And successfully found 2 poets I had not yet encountered that I absolutely loved.
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first trip to San Francisco this was the bookstore I visited and this was the book I snagged. Everywhere I went, so did this anthology pouring over this new genre-great memories, great collection love it love it.sigh.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it was the only book at the Library with Kenneth Patchen's poems. It's a really great collection of poetry. I read all of his and then skipped around. The German poets were interesting; many of those and other sections had poems about war.
Cooper Renner
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit too much Ginsberg for me, and a bit too much political poetry which is more politics than poetry, but overall a good anthology to explore: poets not at all widely read, some work in translation. An antidote to the Best American Poetry of whatever year, or the Poetry anthology!
Simone Bigongiari
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ottima raccolta di poesie molto eterogenee tra loro che seguono un particolare percorso beat
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A prominent voice of the wide-open poetry movement that began in the 1950s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has written poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration, and essays. Often concerned with politics and social issues, Ferlinghetti’s poetry countered the literary elite's definition of art and the artist's role in the world. Though imbued with the commonplace, his poetry canno ...more
More about Lawrence Ferlinghetti...
“Don't bow down to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces.” 49 likes
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