Review of Poems Retrieved by Frank O’Hara at the Rumpus

The Rumpus has posted a very appreciative and enthusiastic review by Barbara Berman of the newly republished edition of Frank O’Hara’s Poems Retrieved which I wrote about recently here.

It’s worth pointing out, though, a slight misunderstanding about this book, one I’ve seen pop up here and there in some of the commentary about it.  In her review, Berman notes that the book offers “early poems recently discovered by [Donald] Allen.”  But Poems Retrieved was originally published in 1977, and this book is simply a reissue — it doesn’t feature has any recently discovered poems, and Don Allen passed away in 2004.

That said, Berman is right that the book is a must-have, and it’s wonderful to have it back in print, along with a new introduction by Bill Berkson.

Update: I should also have mentioned that Poems Retrieved is not, as several sources have said, a collection of O’Hara’s early work — in Poems Retrieved, Don Allen gathered together unpublished work that runs the span of O’Hara’s entire career, including the second-to-last poem he ever wrote, “[Why are there flies on the floor?]” — all works that had been left out of the massive Collected Poems Allen had edited several years before, but it is by no means restricted to his earliest period.  O’Hara’s early work is collected in another volume, Early Writing, also edited by Allen.

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