Born in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, poet Frank Lima earned an MFA from Columbia University, where he studied with Stanley Kunitz
. As a member of the New York School, Lima wrote 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
(1976), Inventory: New & Selected Poems
(1997), and The Beatitudes
(2000). A classically trained French chef, he taught at the New York Restaurant School and has also led workshops at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. Lima lived in Long Island, New York, and died in 2013.
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