Frank Lima Tribute
Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

with Garrett Caples, Julien Poirier, Cedar Sigo, Donna de la Pierre, Joseph Lease, Jackson Meazle, Rod Roland, Brian Lucas, and Chris Carosi.

celebrating the release of

Incidents of Travel in Poetry
New and Selected Poems

by Frank Lima

Edited by Garrett Caples and Julien Poirier

Introduction by Garrett Caples

"Frank Lima is an American Villon."—David Shapiro

Protégé of Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, and Allen Ginsberg, the streetwise Puerto Rican/Mexican poet Frank Lima was the only Latino member of the New York School during its historical heyday. Born in Spanish Harlem in 1939, he endured a difficult and violent childhood, discovering poetry as an inmate of the juvenile drug treatment center under the tutelage of the painter, Sherman Drexler, who introduced him to his poet friends. Rubbing shoulders with everyone from Edwin Denby and Joe Brainard to Jasper Johns and the de Koonings, Lima appeared in key New York School anthologies and published two collections of his own with prominent publishers. In the late seventies, Lima left the poetry world to pursue a successful career as a chef, and though he rarely published, and his work fell out of circulation, he continued to write a poem a day until his death in 2013.

Incidents of Travel in Poetry is a landmark re-introduction to the work of this major Latino American 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 The bulk of the collection comes from his later unpublished manuscripts, and thus Incidents represents the full range of Lima's work for the first time. Edited by poets Garrett Caples and Julien Poirier, and including a biographical introduction.

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, author of 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, author of You Are Not Dead

"This is what we've been waiting for, a grand selection of Frank Lima's poetry with immersive additional material that tells his stories and contextualizes him as the unique, uniquely connected, poet and person he was. 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, author of Sing This One Back to Me and host of Language Matters

Abvout the editors:

Garrett Caples is a poet who lives in San Francisco. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, The Garrett Caples Reader (Black Square, 1999) and Complications (Meritage, 2007), a pamphlet, Quintessence of the Minor: Symbolist Poetry in English (Wave, 2010), and a book of essays, Retrievals (Wave, 2014). He is the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia (California, 2013) and Particulars of Place (Omnidawn, 2015) by Richard O. Moore. He has a Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley. A freelance writer, he is also an editor at City Lights Books.

Julien Poirier is the author of several poetry collections, including El Golpe Chileño (Ugly Duckling, 2010), Stained Glass Windows of California (Ugly Duckling, 2012), and Way Too West (Bootstrap, 2015) and Out of Print (City Lights). In 2005, he published an experimental newspaper novel, Living! Go and Dream (Ugly Duckling). He is also the editor of an anthology of writing by Jack Micheline, One of a Kind (Ugly Duckling, 2008), and a book of travel journals by Bill Berkson, Invisible Oligarchs (Ugly Duckling, 2015). A founding member of Ugly Duckling Presse Collective, Poirier edited the newspaper New York Nights from 2001 to 2006. He has taught poetry in New York City public schools and at San Quentin State Prison. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and two daughters.


Books related to this event:

Product image
Incidents of Travel in Poetry
New and Selected Poems
Frank Lima
2016 Edition
New and selected work by a major Latino poet, the best kept secret of the New York School.