Frank Lima (1939-2013)

New York School poet Frank Lima just passed away.

Here’s his bio from the Poetry Foundation:

Born in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, poet Frank Lima received an MFA from Columbia University, where he studied with Stanley Kunitz. A member of the New York School, Lima writes raw, wry, vulnerable poems engaged with themes of intimacy, abuse, and the body. In a 1997 review of Inventory: New and Selected Poems for The Chronicle, Tom Clark observes that “Lima’s stylistic signature emerges early and persists: a sensual, slangy musicality, informed by a sense of humor that is streetwise beyond its years and composed of equal parts courage and desperation.” In a 1996 interview with Seth Rogovoy for the Berkshire Web, Lima stated, “At some level I think all poetry is autobiographical. Even if you’re writing about ancient myths, you’re somehow in search of your own experiences, something that relates to what you’re writing about. Even my fairy tales are autobiographical.”

Lima’s poetry collections include Inventory (1964), Underground with the Oriole(1971), Angel (1976), Inventory: New & Selected Poems (1997), and The Beatitudes(2000). A classically trained French chef, he teaches at the New York Restaurant School and has also led workshops at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. Lima lives in Long Island, New York.


And a poem:


We found the words in a box and gave them indescribable
Attention. We studied their habits and became recklessly
Enamored with them. As we watched, they smoked
And blew sacramental rings in our faces. We were

Blind old men, unzipping our lives and trembling at the
Touch of naked marble. Pigeons were the wild fingers of
Statues. The future sacrificed our soul for the erotic
Stillness of poetry. The words arrived in the kitchen

Through the nail hole of the last century wearing the
Faces of the past. I fit myself into anyone that will have me,
So be gentle to me in your memories and they will
Stop looking over my shoulder in the subway. I’ll collect

The tickets at the door, wipe the dust off the seats
And make it perfectly clear that writing is as lonely
As a pile of shoes. Heaven is wingless and far away,
And there are no books that mention your name or mine.



2 responses to “Frank Lima (1939-2013)

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