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Neeli Cherkovski /Appreciation/Book Release and Readings

May 20 @ 7:00 pm

An Appreciation of the Life and Work of Neeli Cherkovski

Neeli Cherkovski passed away on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. City Lights together with Lithic Press and his friends celebrate his life and work and the publication of his final collection of poetry:

Selected Poems 1959-2022

published by Lithic Press

Moderated by Danny Rosen and Kyle Harvey with readings by Patrick Dunagan, Sarah Menefee, Aggie Falk, Tate Swindell, Scott Bird, Garrett Caples, Marina Lazzara and Jessica Loos

Seating in-store is limited and on a first come first serve basis. We encourage everyone to view this online. Register (HERE)

Neeli Cherkovski’s Selected Poems: 1959-2022 is the definitive collection from an American original. With his earliest poem in this volume beginning at age fourteen, Cherkovski reveals a youthful wisdom which grows throughout his career. For more than sixty years, Neeli has lived his life for the poem, chewing on the reality and wonder of being here, and the endless question of, what shall we do? His answer is clear: we must rejoice in the endless dilemma!

In his foreword to Selected Poems: 1959-2022, Charles Bernstein writes, “In Neeli Cherkovski’s poetry, beat rhetoric melts into wild riffs then returns to metaphor; bunts, dodges, bows head in respect to disrespect: onward, impulse as image, becomes phrases, becomes sublime moment of stutter, stagger, implosion; till waves of loss get tossed in a walk down a lazy street, as memory of a friend, the darkening night of the soiled –– soaring –– souring –– soul, the benediction of artfulness and refusal of refusal.”

Neeli Cherkovski (born Nelson Innis Cherry; July 1, 1945) grew up in Los Angeles, California and moved to San Francisco in 1974, where he was a member of the vibrant North Beach literary community. He has lived with Jesse Cabrera since 1983. Cherkovski has published many books and his work has been translated into many languages. His papers are archived at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. He is a recipient of an American Book Award, a Josephine Miles National Literary Award, and is a San Francisco Public Library Literary Laureate. A Greek translation of Cherkovski’s selected poems will be published in 2024 and his book of portrait poems will be published by City Lights Books in 2025. He is currently working on a memoir of his life, as well as a collection of literary essays.

This event is made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation


May 20
7:00 pm


City Lights Bookstore
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City Lights
261 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133 United States
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