Lunch Poems, first published in 1964 as Number 19 in the City Lights Pocket Poets series, is widely considered to be Frank O’Hara’s freshest and most accomplished collection of poetry. That’s what it says on the back of his book. Fifty years later, Paul Legault clicked the refresh button. This expanded and enhanced version was written by Legault during his lunch breaks. Often this poet, strolling through the noisy splintered glare of a Manhattan noon, has opened a window on his laptop to type up thirty or forty lines of ruminations, or pondering more deeply has withdrawn to a darkened dive or gay bar to limn his computed misunderstandings of the eternal questions of life, co-existence and depth, while never forgetting to eat Lunch, his favorite meal. . . .
“What is so great is that these shouldn’t be great but they are. It’s like clay keeps escaping the statue and making a blur. Like Frank and Paul are in an orgy together sometime somewhere and Paul suddenly (or maybe forever) leans his chin on his fist smiling and pleased (but not always happy) because he knows that it’s great to be a poet — someone bursting out of a bag like a cat now and then just oh to be alive.”
Four volumes of Paul Legault’s poems have previously been published: The Madeleine Poems (Omnidawn Publishing), The Other Poems (Fence Books), The Emily Dickinson Reader (McSweeney’s Press), and Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror 2 (Fence Books).