San Francisco's North Beach is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's neighborhood. For over 50 years, Lawrence has enjoyed a creative life in North Beach committed to his poetry and this community of artists. Ferlinghetti himself is a part of what makes North Beach special. He's a world-renowned poet who draws his inspiration from these very streets. Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poetry is part of a long literary tradition in North Beach that includes Mark Twain and Herb Caen. It's a tradition that Lawrence is working to protect. In the 1950's he was godfather to a group of North Beach writers and poets such as Jack Keroac and Allen Ginsberg. They called themselves the Beat Generation. In 1953 Ferlinghetti founded City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Avenue featuring controversial works of literature in a radical new fashion. City Lights remains a bustling center for alternative culture. There are three floors filled with philosophy, politics, spirituality and fiction. Hundreds of thousands of rare and popular books. It's crowned with a publishing office and a poetry room featuring literary events. City Lights became a landmark of free speech in 1957 when Lawrence was arrested for publishing a controversial book of poems considered by authorities to be obscene. The book Howl was by Allen Ginsberg.