ISBN-10: 087286667X
ISBN-13: 9780872866676
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 01/12/2016
Dimensions: 7.40" L, 7.00" W, 0.90" H

Published by City Lights

Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems

Editor: Garrett Caples
Editor: Julien Poirier


Price: $13.97


Frank Lima is an American Villon.–David Shapiro

Highly recommended for -reasons that go beyond historical -completeness.–Library Journal, starred review

This collection is not to be missed.–Publishers Weekly, starred review

Protégé of Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch, and Allen Ginsberg, Frank Lima (1939-2013) was the only Latino member of the New York School during its historical heyday. After enduring a difficult and violent childhood, he discovered poetry as an inmate of a juvenile drug treatment center under the tutelage of the painter, Sherman Drexler, who introduced him to his poet friends. After his poetry debut in the Evergreen Review in 1962, Lima appeared in key New York School anthologies and published two full-length collections of his own. In the late 1970s, Lima left the poetry world to pursue a successful career as a chef, though he returned intermittently and continued to write a poem a day until his death.

Incidents of Travel in Poetry is a landmark re-introduction to the work of this major Latino poet. Beginning with poems from Inventory (1964), his installment in the legendary Tibor de Nagy poetry series, Incidents includes selections from Lima’s previous volumes, tracing his development from his early snapshots of street life to his later surrealist-influenced abstract lyricism. The bulk of the collection comes from his later unpublished manuscripts, and thus Incidents represents the full range of Lima’s work for the very first time.

Praise for Incidents of Travel in Poetry:

Finally. Finally. Finally. Here’s the Frank Lima collection that poetry lovers worldwide have been waiting for. Lima was an authentic outlier and Incidents of Travel transcends and decolonizes any attempt at easy categorization. With this new body of work, we are reaping the price Lima paid for being ostracized. Our reward? The dream we wish we could have, whispers that hint of a new waste land, and we’ll always be in his debt for having Lima as a guide.–Willie Perdomo, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon.

Frank Lima is a masterful writer of ecstatic, devastating, and hauntingly personal poetry. His candor is irresistible and transformative, as cuttingly witty in one poem as elegiac and sorrowful in the next. Complete with its nuances and disappointments, nobody writes the poetry of domestic reverence quite like Lima. In this generous selection of work from the poet’s life, including poetry from 1997 onward, we can finally solidify Lima as a figure of crucial importance to our understanding of the New York School writers. This work shines with all the love and labor of Lima’s thoroughly American experience, one which is inextricable from the trauma of cultural duality. Lima’s voice speaks to us like an intimate friend, a co-conspirator in hope. ‘Blessed are the poets who invented us as poets, ‘ he writes in a poem for David Shapiro, an ode to both his best friend and to poetry. Blessed are we now to have this landmark collection of work from Frank Lima. This book is a long overdue treasure.–Wendy Xu

From his first contact with poetry while incarcerated as a juvenile offender in Harlem, through his meetings with Langston Hughes and Frank O’Hara, his years with Berkson and Padgett and Berrigan, his stint as a chef, and his years of living his Vow to Poetry when he wrote at least a poem a day in total obscurity–Lima’s life is an epic of contradictions. Frank Lima is a poet the world has been waiting to discover. Now we can.–Bob Holman


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Vibrant and sprawling, this overdue volume captures the wild range and astounding breadth of a lifetime of poetry produced by New York School member Lima ... This collection is not to be missed.–Publishers Weekly, starred review

Lima has been identified as a major Latino American poet and a second-generation member of the New York School, but he rejected both labels–appropriately, as his poetry has its own distinctive energy and calm, concrete dreaminess. The occasional early poem in this excellent overview evokes Spanish Harlem street scenes ('fat garbage cans/ screaming with the stench/ of rice & beans'), and the opening 'Mom I'm All Screwed Up' is a wrenching shriek at his sexually abusive mother. Mostly, though, Lima takes in the world and himself without excess; there's a revitalizing realness in his work as he moves from passion ('Anyhow I feel like an overcrowded greenhouse when you're around') to older-age meditation ('We stopped searching for the / Answers because we could not live in their blue tents.' Highly recommended for -reasons that go beyond historical -completeness.–Library Journal, starred review

"[Incidents of Travel in Poetry], beautifully culled by editors Garrett Caples and Julien Poirier, comprises the breadth of Lima's work, from his early poems written as a heroin-addicted New York School outsider to his later surrealistic ones informed by freewriting ... Lima's verse is uninhibited and unafraid; he writes with pungent frankness."–The Paris Review

"[A] perfect example of the sort of a reality check, wit and candor that Lima brought to the New York literary scene. His posthumous full-length collection, Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems, published by City Lights, spans the lifetime of this enigmatic poet, who fell in love with writing as an inmate in a juvenile rehab; went on to form friendships and apprenticeships with Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch and Allen Ginsberg; published a few volumes; battled addictions; was married five times; became a high-profile chef; and wrote a great deal of material that hasn't been published anywhere until now ... For many readers, this is an introduction to Lima's work, and it was an excellent decision on the publisher's part to include three essays to help contextualize the material. The two opening essays, by editors [Garrett] Caples and Julien Poirier respectively, provide the first instance of Lima's comprehensive critical biography, meticulously cobbled through research and interviews with Lima's friends, colleagues, and family members."–Chicago Tribune

I join with the rest of the poetry world in being brought to shame for having long neglected one of its most excellent practitioners during his own lifetime ... There is ample material for tomorrow's editors and scholars to begin poring over and eventually bring to light. Lima is a poet whose future legacy is full of nothing but promise."–Bookslut

[H]e became probably the most thoroughgoing American Surrealist since Philip Lamantia, though rarely without a bit of Reverdyesque heart in some pocket or other as well. Whether his Surrealism is mainly French in origin–Desnos? Eluard?–or has deeper Latin American roots is a question for the scholars, not me. The problem with Surrealism in general is that it is an art of arbitrary combinations produced with the desire that chance become destiny. And as Lima puts it, 'Destiny can be as cold as an abandoned car, / Or as rewarding as sleeping late ... / It will never give you a gold star for good behavior.' But the dice roll in Lima's favor more often than one might expect, so that when he writes, 'My telephone calls you. / Are you strong enough to listen?' When I read that thousands of pages remain unpublished, I wonder–how many times can you toss a winner?–but here I am compelled to stop and consider, and realize that Lima is among those of whom he says, 'When they spoke about life, / their words became waves of suicide. / Proof that life imitates life.' More than half the book consists of poems not previously published, dating from the 1990s and early 2000s, when Lima was writing furiously though nearly forgotten by the poetry world, still silently helping us 'live right into the answers of the heart.'–Barry Schwabsky, Hyperallergic

This scrupulously edited edition, compiled with the aid of Helen Lima, Frank's widow, makes available the wide range of Lima's oeuvre and establishes him as a great American poet. It also finally opens the lid on the vast stores of work that have been hidden from view until now. ... Lima's trajectory as an artist is marked by restlessness. His earliest poems–sharp-edged, pitiless, psychedelic accounts of gangster life in Spanish Harlem–are devastatingly assured, deserving of their own place in American letters ... Lima's outsider practice only deepened in his later years. Having removed all manner of monkeys from his back (heroin, alcohol, childhood trauma), he wrote a poem a day for many years. This flood of late work was provoked or permitted by a convergence of factors: sobriety, a stable marriage, the discovery of Peter Elbow's pedagogy of freewriting, the death of his friend Kenneth Koch and a concomitant vow to poetry. Perhaps, above all, simple happiness. Whatever the source, fully half of Incidents of Travel in Poetry is composed of poems written between 1997, when his last published book came out, and 2013, the year of his death, and they were years of intense creative production."–Nico Alvarado, Harvard Review

At once a 'New York School' and 'Latino' poet, Lima rejected both labels and their predictable parameters. He had too many other identities. He was a victim of sexual abuse, a rehabilitated drug addict and alcoholic, a boxer, a chef, a professor of culinary arts. Moreover, he embellished a narrative of movement from escapism to reality: throw in whatever social science you want; just don't forget that he was foremost a poet."–Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas

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ISBN-10: 087286667X
ISBN-13: 9780872866676
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 01/12/2016
Dimensions: 7.40" L, 7.00" W, 0.90" H
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