Frank Lima

Frank Lima was born in New York City in Spanish Harlem, 1939. His parents were Mexican and Puerto Rican. He received a Master's from Columbia University in 1975. During the 60's and 70's he published three books of poetry and was included in many anthologies. In the late 70's, Lima took a more introspective approach to create new poems and to devote his time to family, as he pursued a career in classical French Cooking as a professional chef in the culinary arts.


Inventory opens with "Scattered Vignettes," a raw, hallucinatory work about Lima's mythopoetic origins. The poem records a striking mosaic of abuses at the hands of parents, priests, and various controlled substances. But such stories are not the key to this book. "Poetry," after all, "is pinker / than nature," and the past matters less here than the present and future: "every day is a new instrument." That is, he's got work to do. Instead of holding up a mirror to life, Lima holds up "fingers popping with eyes." These poems don't make sense--nor love--so much as they make for love through the senses. Although love is his great subject, some of Lima's traditional love poems drift lazily into flat cliché. His most wondrous feats are object poems such as "Geranium" and "The Hand"--expansive empathies that suggest a sensually surreal George Herbert. It's here that we taste "the terrible flavor of love." For Lima, a working chef and former New York School bad boy, "Poetry is an expressive cut of meat." So we do sit and eat.
Allen Ginsberg

“One decade of Suffering City Withdrawal Pains is focused here in the few poems a young man finds in his head..."

Donald Barthelme

Frank Lima writes poems which...tell you things you know and things you do not know, and are entirely beautiful.”

Restaurant School.