#28 – Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

Does the design of this book cover look familiar to you at all?

Perhaps it reminds you a little bit of this:

But this is a list of books to read before you’re 30. Howl is for teenagers and college kids,* but Lunch Poems is for grown-ups.

Not that Howl doesn’t have a certain appeal. It totally does. Who doesn’t want to spend their days hanging out with “angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night”?**

But Lunch Poems exists in the world where a lot of us live. Offices. Buildings. Exciting things maybe happen to movie stars (oh Lana Turner) but not to us. We work in offices, and if we’re lucky, that’s a really good thing. Our 9-to-5 gigs might even contribute something good to the world (O’Hara worked at the Museum of Modern Art). And in between times, we have lunch breaks.

O’Hara used his lunch breaks to wander around the city and write poems. He was a flaneur! Yet he held down a regular job while writing poems. Good ones! Poems that we can now carry around and read on our lunch breaks.

Sidenote: In 1966, Frank O’Hara was hit by a dune buggy and died. A dune buggy! Sadness.

*Also if you were actually a hippie during the ’60s, you get a pass. You can read/quote/love Ginsberg as much as you want.

**Especially if James Franco plays them in a movie.


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