Lunch Poems

Lunch Poems
50th Anniversary Edition
Foreword by John Ashbery




Press Reviews

The Bay Area Reporter

"The expanded 50th anniversary edition of Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara is a glorious tribute to the book, as well as to the genius of the poet himself. Poet John Ashbery wrote the preface, and publisher/poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes about the anniversary edition. If you haven't read this essential volume of poetry, including the amazing poem 'Ave Maria,' you don't know what you're missing."—Gregg Shapiro, Bay Area Reporter


The Washington Blade

"Don't miss out. With your fave libation in hand, celebrate Lunch Poems—the little book that’s still the life of the party."—Kathi Wolfe, The Washington Blade


National Post

"In the 1950s people like me noticed O'Hara because his subjects were often the subjects we would have chosen if we had been poets – jazz, movie stars, abstract expressionist painting, race, the intensity of urban life. Music, art and their attached legends energized his lines. The poems were crafted with care but always seemed spontaneous, as if scrawled in his notebooks during parties, meetings, trips on the subway. They were always personal, city life woven into a rueful version of himself. To like him it was necessary to like irony."––Robert Fulford, National Post


Los Angeles Times

"Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems--which has just been reissued in a 50th anniversary hardcover edition--recalls a world of pop art, political and cultural upheaval and (in its own way) a surprising innocence."––David Ulin, Los Angeles Times


Times Literary Supplement UK

"Frank O'Hara's delightful conversational volume Lunch Poems was published by City Lights in San Francisco fifty years ago, and has remained in print in its original Pocket Poets format ever since. In an anniversary hardback edition, Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes that the poems 'established a certain tone, a certain turn of phrase, a certain urbane wit, at once gay and straight, that came to identify the New York School of poets in the 1960s.'"—James Campbell, Times Literary Supplement UK


The Atlantic

". . . the book has an appeal that reaches beyond the time and place it was written in, as the 50th anniversary edition of the City Lights volume shows. Casual, sardonic, funny, and full of pop-culture references, Lunch Poems has all the brevity, informality, irony, and at times chatty pointlessness of modern discourse without having been influenced by it. The volume has never gone out of print, in part because O'Hara expresses himself in the same way modern Americans do: Like many of us, he tries to overcome the absurdity and loneliness of modern life by addressing an audience of anonymous others."—Micah Mattix, The Atlantic


The Village Voice

"We all know lunch hour isn't actually for eating lunch; it’s for running to the bank, going shopping, or throwing back a few midday business shots. In the case of Frank O’Hara, it was for poetry, and his might have been the best use of those precious 60 minutes in the whole dreary history of the corporate custom."—Heather Baysa, The Village Voice


The Paris Review

"City Lights' new reissue of the slim volume includes a clutch of correspondence between O'Hara and Lawrence Ferlinghetti . . . in which the two poets hash out the details of the book's publication: which poems to consider, their order, the dedication, and even the title. 'Do you still like the title Lunch Poems?' O’Hara asks Ferlinghetti. 'I wonder if it doesn’t sound too much like an echo of Reality Sandwiches or Meat Science Essays.' 'What the hell,' Ferlinghetti replies, 'so we’ll have to change the name of City Lights to Lunch Counter Press.'"—Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review