“You Shoot at Yourself, America”—Newly Digitized: Yevtushenko’s Flowers and Bullets & Freedom to Kill
Discover the newly digitized volume Flowers and Bullets & Freedom to Kill first published by City Lights in 1970. This is the latest installment in our ongoing digital project, Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution, showcasing a series of rare chapbooks published by independent presses from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
The Statue of Liberty’s color
Grows ever more deathly pale
As, loving freedom with bullets
And taking liberty with bullets,
You shoot at yourself, America.
—from “Freedom to Kill” by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Published in 1970 by City Lights, Flowers and Bullets & Freedom to Kill features two poems by acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. They bear witness to domestic tensions within America during the Vietnam War, including the violent repression of the civil rights movement and antiwar protests. The chapbook exemplifies the aim of City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti to bring international voices, such as Yevtushenko, to American audiences. It is also a document that highlights the complexities of the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.