Streams

February 10, 2012 03:21:04 PM
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John McNally

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Annandale NJ

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A copy of Frank O'Hara's "Lunch Poems" (purchased at the Strand!)

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Books (perhaps a diminishing artifact) fueled the intellectual fire of NYC. NYC is an anchor for writers, and especially poets. O'Hara, an employee of MOMA and intimately involved with New York painters of the 50's and 60's, claims to have written some of these poems on a sample Olivetti while strolling through "a Manhattan noon." The fact that this delicious little book was published by City Lights Press in San Francisco demonstrates the reach and influence of "New York School" poetics. It also contains the legendary poem "The Day Lady Died" which remembers Billie Holiday singing at the "5 Spot", and drops names like "Park Lane", "New York Post", "6th Avenue", and that should be enough to nominate it:

"It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don't know the people who will feed me..."

A gem.

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