San Francisco: City Lights Books, (1968). Single volume, measuring 6.25 x 5 inches: . Original yellow and black printed wrappers. Ink inscription to front free endpaper: “Best wishes, / Gwen Brooks.”.
Later printing of Pictures of the Gone World, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 1955 collection of exuberant, “wide-open” street poems: “Yes Dada would have died for a day like this / with its sweet street carnival / and its too real funeral / just passing thru it.” A co-founder of San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore, Ferlinghetti launched the City Lights press with this collection, Number One in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. City Lights would go on to publish a number of pioneering works of poetry, most famously Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, which led to Ferlinghetti’s arrest on obscenity charges and a landmark First Amendment trial in 1957. This copy of Pictures of the Gone World, a fourteenth printing published in November 1968, bears an inscription from fellow American poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Although rarely discussed together, Ferlinghetti and Brooks were almost exact contemporaries; in 1968, Brooks was in the process of leaving her longtime publisher Harper to work exclusively with independent Black presses, including her own Chicago imprint. Ferlinghetti’s commitment to free speech, accessibility, and community advocacy at City Lights may have appealed to Brooks as she too took publishing and distribution into her own hands. A fine copy, with an intriguing literary association.