City Lights Still Shines

As all literary enthusiasts must do when in San Francisco, we visited City Lights bookstore. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, at age 98, is still a co-owner, and lives a few blocks from the bookstore in a second-story walk-up in the North Beach neighborhood. The city even named a street after him.
Ferlinghetti established City Lights in the 1950s, because as he said in his inaugural speech as poet laureate of San Francisco in 1998 that he “saw North Beach especially as a poetic place, as poetic as some quarters in Paris, as any place great poets and painters had found inspiration.” And indeed poets and other writers flocked to that “poetic place”-Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, Burroughs, Cassady, and numerous others creating a movement in literature known as “Beat.”
City Lights remains a springboard for social activism in the Bay Area. As Ferlinghetti wrote in his “Challenges to Young Poets” in 2001 “Be committed to something outside yourself. Be militant about it. Or ecstatic”

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