I Speak of the City Poetry Reading at the Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum will be having a special reading with Stephen Wolf, editor of I Speak of the City: Poems of New York. This is becoming an annual event to celebrate National Poetry Month and Wolf will be joined by other poets reading from the collection, starting with Whitman and then moving onto Ginsberg and other contemporary favorites. (Reminder: I Speak of the City is available at 50% off during our Spring Sale.)

The book includes works from some of the greatest American poets as well writers from other countries. Here’s an excerpt from Frank O’Hara’s “A Step Away from Them,” which is included in the collection and was originally published in his Lunch Poems (1965):

It’s my lunch hour, so I go
for a walk among the hum-colored
cabs. First, down the sidewalk
where laborers feed their dirty
glistening torsos sandwiches
and Coca-Cola, with yellow helmets
on. They protect them from falling
bricks, I guess. Then onto the
avenue where skirts are flapping
above heels and blow up over
grates. The sun is hot, but the
cabs stir up the air. I look
at bargains in wristwatches. There
are cats playing in sawdust.

to Times Square, where the sign
blows smoke over my head, and higher
the waterfall pours lightly. A
Negro stands in a doorway with a
toothpick, languorously agitating.
A blonde chorus girl clicks: he
smiles and rubs his chin. Everything
suddenly honks: it is 12:40 of
a Thursday.

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