Like Mr. Orthofer, I’m both delighted and appalled to see City Lights get the profile treatment. There isn’t time right now to investigate whether Times contributor Megan Walsh has a troublesome history of inserting these corny, oh-so-obvious “comic” observations in her work. But I can assure her that City Lights, while jutting in a diagonal manner along the edge of Columbus, is far from “a cake slice of a bookshop.” This concern for the store’s physical appearance overshadows its more important attribute. City Lights maintains a great poetry selection and also keeps such authors as Eric Kraft, Kathy Acker, Gilbert Sorrentino, and Stanley Elkin circulating in the stacks. And aside from the fact that Mr. Ferlinghetti himself is not what one might call an etiolated individual, countercultures, last I heard, have not faded away. They’re still around if you look a little. Unless, of course, your tastes and perceptive faculties are safer than a reverend who is overly concerned about his stature in a small town.
© 2008, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.