Thursday, November 23, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Nancy Peters


American author, publisher and co-owner with Lawrence Ferlinghetti of the City Lights Bookstore.
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Nancy Peters
It's kind of a world neighborhood bookstore. They ?y in from Prague or Tokyo — we had a whole busload of South Africans saying, "They've got my books in here." ... The president of the Czech Republic [Václav Havel] came by to pay us a state visit, turned to the shelf, and his book was there: "Look, they've got my book."
Peters quotes
She is one of the best literary editors in the country and is why City Lights Books has grown and done well.
Peters
When I joined City Lights in 1971 and started working with Lawrence, it was clear that it had been very much a center of protest, for people with revolutionary ideas and people who wanted to change society. And when I first began working at the little editorial office up on Filbert and Grant, people that Lawrence had known through the whole decade of the '60s were dropping in all the time, like Paul Krassner, Tim Leary, people who were working with underground presses and trying to provide an alternative to mainstream media. This was a period of persecution, and FBI infiltration of those presses.




Peters Nancy quotes
The mood of the '50s is like today.
Peters Nancy
We're still in a state of shock ... We have our "Dump Bush and Cheney" sign in the window, which Lawrence [Ferlinghetti] painted himself. We're looking forward to impeachment or perhaps, indictments for war crimes.
Nancy Peters quotes
We have one called Commodity Aesthetics, which is our section on popular culture.
Nancy Peters
Lawrence is usually the first poet kids read in schools that they really like. It's a real turn-on for them.
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The most important of the beat poets. He was a really true poet with an original voice, probably the most lyrical of those poets.
Peters
Then (in 1981) we did a book by Geoffrey Rips called "Unamerican Activities," which was a documentation of the subversion of the underground press. That was when the Freedom of Information Act made those files available. We were shocked, we couldn't believe that our government had been bombing people, infiltrating their organizations. In fact, I think one of the files listed Lawrence as a "beatnik rabble-rouser."
Peters Nancy
Ginsberg used to stay in the publishing house. Our editorial office had two rooms and a kitchen; it was a tiny place. And one of the rooms was kind of a guest room so that visiting authors could stay there. Allen would come sometimes for a week at a time or more. And he hung out in the store, also. The store had become quite a center for writers by that time. Ginsberg was working on "The Fall of America," which was his long chronicle of the Vietnam War, which is full of the anguish and passion and anger that so many people felt. The war had been going on for such a long time by then. That book won the National Book Award [in 1974].
Nancy Peters
During the '70s, when the Cold War was still on, we invited Voznesensky and Yevtushenko to come here. We had very large readings for them. It was a way of kind of culturally thawing the Cold War.




Nancy Peters quotes
He found in the narcotic night world a kind of modern counterpart to the gothic castle — a zone of peril to be symbolically or existentially crossed.
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