By Frank O'Hara
City Lights Books, Paperback, 9780872860353, 76pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
Important poems by the late New York poet published in The New American Poetry, Evergreen Review, Floating Bear and stranger places.
Often this poet, strolling through the noisy splintered glare of a Manhattan noon, has paused at a sample Olivetti to type up thirty or forty lines of ruminations, or pondering more deeply has withdrawn to a darkened ware- or firehouse to limn his computed misunderstandings of the eternal questions of life, coexistence, and depth, while never forgetting to eat lunch, his favorite meal.
"O Hara speaks directly across the decades to our hopes and fears and especially our delights; his lines are as intimate as a telephone call. Few books of his era show less age." --Dwight Garner, New York Times
"As collections go, none brings. . .quality to the fore more than thethirty-seven Lunch Poems, published in 1964 by City Lights." --Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review
"What O'Hara is getting at is a sense of the evanescence, and the power, of great art, that inextricable contradiction that what makes it moving and transcendent is precisely our knowledge that it will pass away.This is the ethos at the center of Lunch Poems: not the informal or the conversational for their own sake but rather in the service of something more intentional, more connective, more engaged." --David L. Ulin, Los Angeles TImes
"The collection broadcasts snark, exuberance, lonely earnestness, and minute-by-minute autobiography to a wide, vague audiencemuch like today's Twitter and Facebook feeds." --Micah Mattix, The Atlantic
Among the most significant post-war American poets, Frank O'Hara grew up in Grafton, MA, graduating from Harvard in 1950. After earning an MA at Michigan in 1951, O'Hara moved to New York, where he began working for the Museum of Modern Art and writing for Art News. By 1960, he was named Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture Exhibitions at MOMA. Along with John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, and Barbara Guest, he is considered an original member of the New York School. Though he died in a tragic accident in 1966, recent references to O'Hara on TV shows like Mad Men or Thurston Moore's new single evidence our culture's continuing fascination with this innovative poet.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of "Lunch Poems" by Frank O'Hara, City Lights Books has reissued an expanded version of the collection. More at NPR.org
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