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Pocket Poets Series

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This index collects the books published as part of The Pocket Poets Series


1. Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. PICTURES OF THE GONE WORLD
a. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, November 1955
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers with printed wrap-around label tipped on, 5″ x 6″, 44 pages, 500 copies, letterpress printed by David Ruff. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 1.
(Cook 1)

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1955
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards with printed label tipped on, 5.25″ x 6.25″, 44 pages, 25 copies, letterpress printed by David Ruff, bound by the Cardoza bindery. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 1.
(Cook 1)

Note: from the rear cover: “Pictures of the Gone World is the first volume in the Pocket Poets Series, in which it is planned to make available, in inexpensive form, work by such well known poets as e.e. cummings, Kenneth Patchen, Kenneth Rexroth, and William Carlos Williams, as well as poetry by younger less known writers who are also doing significant work in the modern idiom, whether it be ‘in the American grain’ or against it.”

2. Rexroth, Kenneth (translator). THIRTY SPANISH POEMS OF LOVE AND EXILE
a. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1956
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers with printed wrap-around label tipped on, 4.75″ x 6″, 40 pages, 950 copies, letterpress printed. Designed by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Published as The Pocket Poets Series,  No 2.
(Cook 2)

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1956
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards with printed label tipped on, 5″ x 6.25″, 40 pages, 50 numbered and signed copies, letterpress printed. Designed by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Published as The Pocket Poets Series,  No 2.
(Cook 2)

3. Patchen, Kenneth. POEMS OF HUMOR & PROTEST
a. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, July 1956
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers with printed wrap-around label tipped on, 5″ x 6″, 48 pages, 1000 copies, letterpress printed by Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 3
(Cook 3)

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1956
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards with printed label tipped on, 5.25″ x 6.25″, 48 pages, 25 copies, letterpress printed by Villiers Publications in London, bound by the Cardoza Bindery. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 3
(Cook 3)

Note: this collection gathers 32 short poems from seven of Patchen’s earlier books, published during the 1940s and early 1950s.

4. Ginsberg, Allen. HOWL AND OTHER POEMS
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, October 1956
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers with printed wrap-around label tipped on, 5″ x 6″, 44 pages, 1000 copies, letterpress printed at Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 4
(Cook 4)

Note: The first printing lists Lucien Carr’s name on the dedication page. Later printings do not list his name, removed at his request. The hand-pasted wraparound paper label is only present on the first and second printings.

Ginsberg first read part of the poem at the Six Gallery reading on October 7, 1955. The second printing of Howl and Other Poems was seized by the U.S. Customs Office and shortly afterwards Ferlinghetti and Shigeyoshi Murao, manager of City Lights Bookshop, were arrested for selling and publishing obscene literature. Defended by the ACLU, the case was highly publicized and covered by established publications such as Time and Life, adding to the attention of this small press and Howl. Judge Clayton Horn found the book to be not obscene and this landmark decision helped launch City Lights and Ginsberg’s poems into the public arena.

5. Ponsot, Marie. TRUE MINDS
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, January 1957
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers with printed wrap-around label tipped on, 5″ x 6″, 32 pages, 500 copies, letterpress printed at Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 5
(Cook 5)

Note: the title of this collection of love poems was taken from Shakespeare’s 116th Sonnet. It would be 24 years later when she would publish her second volume of poems and borrow the title from the next line of the sonnet: “Avoid Impediment”.

6. Levertov, Denise. HERE AND NOW
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, January 1957
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers with printed wrap-around label tipped on, 5″ x 6″, 32 pages, 500 copies, letterpress printed at Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 6
(Cook 6)

7. Williams, William Carlos. KORA IN HELL: IMPROVISATIONS
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Books, August 1957
Sewn and bound in printed wrappers, 5″ x 6.25″, 84 pages, 1500 copies, letterpress printed at Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 7
(Cook 7)

Note: from the rear cover: “William Carlos Williams, at 74, has some claim to be called Poet Laureate of America, being the author of almost forty books, and having won most of the important poetry awards in this country. He is a man known for his enthusiasms, a constant defender of poets and poetry.”

8. Corso, Gregory. GASOLINE
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Books, February 1958
Perfect-bound in printed wrappers, 5″ x 6.25″, 48 pages, 1500 copies, letterpress printed by the Pinchpenny Press in Berkeley. Introduction by Allen Ginsberg. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 8
(Cook 8)

9. Prévert, Jacques. SELECTIONS FROM PAROLES
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Books, July 1958
Sewn and bound in printed wrappers, 5″ x 6.5″, 72 pages, 1500 copies, letterpress printed at Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 9
(Cook 10)

Note: from the rear cover: “In the years immediately following World War II, Jacques Prévert spoke more directly to and for the French who had come of age under the Occupation than any other contemporary poet, if enormous success of Paroles is any indication. First published in 1946, it was almost immediately reprinted, and by 1952 there were 200,000 copies in print.”

10. Duncan, Robert. SELECTED POEMS
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Books, January 1959
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers, 5″ x 6.25″, 80 pages, 1500 copies, letterpress printed at Villiers Publications in London. Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 10
(Cook 14)

Note: Selected Poems gathers poems written between 1942 and 1950. From the publisher’s statement: “In making this selection from his first four books, together with certain other poems of the same period, Duncan feels he has given his work as a whole a focus that amounts to a new definition of his poetic intent.”

11. Rothenberg, Jerome (translator). NEW YOUNG GERMAN POETS
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1959
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 11
(Cook 16)

Note: This collection, edited and translated by Jerome Rothenberg, introduces ten German poets who were born between the First World War and the first years of the Nazi rise to power. The collection includes the first English appearances of Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann and Gunter Grass.

12. Parra, Nicanor. ANTI-POEMS
First edition:
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1960
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 12

Note: These poems are taken from Parra’s Poemas y Antipoemas originally published in 1954. This is the first appearance in English, translated by painter and critic Jorge Elliott.

13. Patchen, Kenneth. THE LOVE POEMS OF KENNETH PATCHEN
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1961
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 13





14. Ginsberg, Allen. KADDISH AND OTHER POEMS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1961
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 14

Note: This is the long anticipated volume of poems following the highly successful Howl and Other Poems. It presents the long title poem on the death of his mother and fifteen other poems. Kaddish is the name of the Hebrew prayer for the dead.

15. Nichols, Robert. SLOW NEWSREEL OF MAN RIDING TRAIN
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1962
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 15

16. Hollo, Anselm (translator). RED CATS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1962
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 16

Note: In his introduction Hollo writes, “In the middle 50’s a number of Soviet writers started what became known as ‘The Thaw’: a movement towards freedom and personal literary and critical expression…” Yevgeni Yevtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky were in their twenties at the time Red Cats was published.

17. Lowry, Malcolm. SELECTED POEMS OF MALCOLM LOWRY
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1962
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 17

Note: from the back cover: “This is the first comprehensive collection of Lowry’s poetry, including most of those strange Mexican verses closely related to his novel, Under the Volcano.
Edited by Lowry’s good friend, Earle Birney, with the assistance of the author’s widow, this book brings into perspective the many poems from various periods which have appeared in magazines, as well as others never before published.”

18. Ginsberg, Allen. REALITY SANDWICHES, 1953-1960
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1963
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 18

Note: Reality Sandwiches collects poems written by Ginsberg between 1953 and 1960, thus presenting his early work prior to his groundbreaking poem Howl in 1956

19. O’Hara, Frank. LUNCH POEMS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1964
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 19

20. Lamantia, Philip. SELECTED POEMS, 1943-1966
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1967
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 20

Note: this volume collects poems of his youth, travels and time in San Francisco: Revelations of a Surreal Youth (1943-1945), Trance Ports (1948-1961), and Secret Freedom (1963-1966).

21. Kaufman, Bob. GOLDEN SARDINE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1967
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 21

22. Pommy-Vega, Janine. POEMS TO FERNANDO
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1968
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 22

23. Ginsberg, Allen. PLANET NEWS, 1961-1967
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1968
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 23

24. Upton, Charles. PANIC GRASS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1968
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 24

25. Picasso, Pablo. HUNK OF SKIN
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1968
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 25

26. Bly, Robert. THE TEETH-MOTHER NAKED AT LAST
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1970
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 26

27. di Prima, Diane. REVOLUTIONARY LETTERS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1971
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 27

Note: Revolutionary Letters was published in a number of earlier versions by underground presses. The first City Lights edition collects letters 1-43 and other poems. Later printings include additional letters.

28. Kerouac, Jack. SCATTERED POEMS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1971
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 28

Note: Scattered Poems is a collection of poems published posthumously and compiled by Ann Charters, one of Kerouac’s earliest biographers. The poems included were written as early as 1945. The cover is a reproduction of a photograph of Kerouac
taken by William S. Burroughs in Tangier in 1957.

29. Voznesensky, Andri. DOGALYPSE: SAN FRANCISCO POETRY READING
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1972
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 29

30. Ginsberg, Allen. THE FALL OF AMERICA: POEMS OF THESE STATES, 1965-1971
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1972
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 30

Note: this collection continues Ginsberg’s chronicle of travels across America. He dedicates the volume to Whitman and includes on the dedication page a long quote from Whitman’s Democratic Vistas,
1871. Barry Miles, Ginsberg’s biographer, relates that Ginsberg was living near Kenneth Patchen on Telegraph Hill. Patchen introduced Ginsberg to the Dos Passos translation of Blaise Cendrars’ Trans-Siberian Voyage, which served as a model for Ginsberg’s travelogue-style work, The Fall of America.

31. Winslow, Pete. A DAISY IN THE MEMORY OF A SHARK
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1973
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 31

32. Norse, Harold. HOTEL NIRVANA
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1974
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 32

33. Waldman, Anne. FAST SPEAKING WOMAN
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1975
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 33

34. Hirschman, Jack. LYRIPOL
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1976
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 34

35. Ginsberg, Allen. MIND BREATHS: POEMS 1972-1977
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1977
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 35

Note: This collection presents poems written by Ginsberg from 1972 to 1977. Ginsberg dedicated this volume to Chögyum Trungpa, the poet and philosopher who named Ginsberg the “Lion of Dharma” in 1972.

36. Brecht, Stefan. POEMS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1978
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 36

Note: A collection of poems by the son of German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht . It was privately published two years earlier by the poet. The cover photograph is by Arthur Tress.

37. Orlovsky, Peter. CLEAN ASSHOLE POEMS & SMILING VEGETABLE SONGS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1978
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 37

38. Antler [Brad Burdick]. FACTORY
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1980
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 38

39. Lamantia, Philip. BECOMING VISIBLE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1981
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 39

40. Ginsberg, Allen. PLUTONIAN ODE: POEMS 1977-1980
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1982
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 40

41. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. ROMAN POEMS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1986
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 41

42. NINE DUTCH POETS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1982
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 42

43. Cardenal, Ernesto. FROM NICARAGUA WITH LOVE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1986
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 43

44. Porta, Antonio. KISSES FROM ANOTHER DREAM
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1987
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 44

45. Cornford, Adam. ANIMATIONS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1988
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 45

46. LaLoca [Pamala Karol]. ADVENTURES ON THE ISLE OF ADOLESCENCE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1989
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 46

47. Mayakovsky, Vladimir. LISTEN
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1991
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 47

48. Kerouac, Jack. POEMS ALL SIZES
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1992
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 48

49. Zamora, Daisy. RIVERBED OF MEMORY
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1992
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 49

50. Murillo, Rosario. ANGEL IN THE DELUGE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1993
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 50

51. Kerouac, Jack. SCRIPTURES OF THE GOLDEN ETERNITY
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1994
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 51

52. Blanco, Alberto. DAWN OF THE SENSES
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1995
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 52

53. Cortázar, Julio. SAVE TWILIGHT
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 53

54. Campana, Dino. ORPHIC SONGS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1998
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 54

55. Hirschman, Jack. FRONT LINES
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2002
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 55

56. Mehmedinovic, Semezdin. NINE ALEXANDRIAS
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2003
Published as The Pocket Poets Series, No. 56