Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin founded City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco in 1953 and it soon became a gathering place for beat poets and intellectuals. Two years later, Ferlinghetti founded a publishing house of the same name and began publishing controversial pieces by authors’ whose works had been featured in bookstore readings. Most famously, he published Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL AND OTHER POEMS, for which he was arrested. City Lights Bookstore remains in existence to this day and celebrated its sixtieth birthday last year.
This image from Ginsberg’s personal album shows Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and other beats (including Neal Cassady–the inspiration for ON THE ROAD’s Dean Moriarty) posing outside the bookstore in 1956. The handwritten note says that Ginsberg’s longtime partner Peter Orlovsky took the picture.