Poems Retrieved

Poems Retrieved
Introduction by Bill Berkson
Edited by Donald Allen

Press Reviews


"For those of us who adore the meandering colloquialisms of this quintessential New York School poet, finding this trove of drafts and wanderings is an extra treat. O'Hara's inimitable exuberance pushes through, crafting a poetry that can explode out of almost anything, dramatizing the music of  thinking. 'The sea was calm and pale. / Almost polite. Whatever / had it meant to us, what / will you mean to me, does / nothing end?' asks O'Hara. He can't answer, of course. Things do end. Thankfully, we get more of him."--Tess Taylor, Barnesandnoble.com

The Quarterly Conversation

" . . . Poems Retrieved is a welcome edition to any reader's bookshelves--be she a casual peruser or a credentialed O'Hara scholar."--Erika Jo Brown, The Quarterly Conversation

American Poet

"Scholars and first-time readers will delight in this previously uncollected volume of O'Hara's poems..." American Poet. 

Beat Scene Magazine

"A revised and expanded edition from the essential West Coast publisher City Lights in San Francisco. Frank O'Hara was the epitome of the New York City poetry scene in the second half of the Twentieth century . . . O'Hara was a livewire poet."--Sophia Nitrate, Beat Scene Magazine

The Rumpus

"What we have here is a lot of poetry worth experiencing, and a radiant reminder that the later work is connected to gifts O'Hara displayed as a young man. Read and recite these poems. Dance a little while you do . . ." -- Barbara Berman, The Rumpus

The Poetry Foundation

"It looks like an excellent complement to the selected and collected poems of O'Hara that have been in circulation for so long."--Harriet Staff, The Poetry Foundation

Amos Lassen

"[The poems] like O'Hara (was) are urbane and hip, filled with abstraction, humor, mystery, poignancy and lyricism. Here is what poetry was in the America of the 50s and 60s."

Library Journal

"O'Hara (1926–66) is widely known as a member of the New York School of poets, whose unyielding craving for artistic expression infused his poetry with the culture of painters, writers, critics, and the movement of 20th-century art in America. His work's primary source, however, remains a singular, inimitable force as he once exclaimed, 'Poetry is life to me.' O'Hara's poems record and then stay in the occasion happening, moving even among the static. 'Why are there flies on the floor/ in February, and the snow mushing outside/ and the cats asleep? Because you came/ back from Paris, to celebrate your return.' Companion to an earlier volume, Early Writings (1977), and the original Collected Poems (1971), this is a portion of an anticipated complete collected poems of O'Hara. American poet Bill Berkson’s introduction comments on O'Hara's self-described act of writing as 'at once as mysterious and practical as there has ever been of the relation of poetry to experience.' VERDICT Add to the aforementioned companion volumes to create a loose Collected, or let stand as is. Either way retrieve an O’Hara collection--he's essential."--Annalisa Pesek