Last year was the first year of my undergraduate in Literature and I was so, unbelievably, relieved when this book was introduced to me. Frank O'Hara is touching, funny and unusual in style and I fell in love with some of his pieces, would recommend to anyone. They're not just appropriate for a literature student either as his style sets him apart from the other, in my opinion quite stuffy and regimented, poets I've come across. He abolishes rhyme and often has a very un-regular schema in place (yes, I lack the words to describe him- just try it!).
Above all the simple, un-pretentious, title 'Lunch Poems' reflects well his character and writing style- he wrote these poems whilst on his lunchs breaks (during his job as an art curator) in New York. He likes to tell it as it is.
I was told about this book while studying creative writing at Roehampton University, and I’d been looking forward to reading it for years. After that, it was something of anti-climax – good poetry, but not as amazing as I was expecting. Still, Frank O’Hara is the kind of poet that every serious reader should take the time to introduce themselves to. His work is fun, it’s just not completely revolutionary.
Has there ever been a more friendly, inventive and uplifting little book of poetry than O'Hara's Lunch Poems? I doubt it. Packed with urban panoramas and New York street life yet resolutely bouncy, this tiny volume has taken me to many exciting avenues of the mind and is one I've taken with me to many places in return. Beneath its chatty, camp and humorous surface lurks one of the most fertile imaginations of the twentieth century. Includes 'A Step Away from Them', 'The Day Lady Died', 'Ave Maria' and 'Hotel Particulier'.
O'Hara pioneered the 'conversational' poem: 'I do this, I do that'; it's not art, but it's charming, and a must for anyone au fait with the New York School scene of the 1950s: LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Jackson Pollock and other NY regulars crop up frequently, often meeting O'Hara for lunch, his "favorite meal".