memoirs of a street poet
new and selected poems by frank t. rios
A collection of new and selected works from one of the original Venice Beats, material stretching from the fifties to present. These image-based poems describe the sordid and romantic existence of the Venice scene in the 60s to 70s, when Rios and other beat oriented poets devoted their lives to the muse and did whatever it took to get the words down. With a foreword by a fellow Venice Beat, the late John Thomas.
Full color wrap-around cover of a collage by Frank T. Rios
160 pages . 5.25x8 . paperback
For those unfamiliar with the work of Frank T. Rios, here is John Thomas' foreword:
This brilliant collection of poems by Frank T. Rios covers more then fifty years of magnificent work. Lyrically poetic, deeply religious in origin, burning and personal but broad in its address, Rios voice is like no other poet I know.
Frankie was born on March 22, 1936, in Manhattan, born illegally, a throw-away, party baby. He spent his first two years in a Catholic foundling home, cared for by nuns in black with cold hands and sinless faces (black has been Frankies color ever since). Then came a foster home where he lived for the next thirteen years. He didnt speak until he was six.
Frankie wrote The Ball Poem in New York one grim day in 1954. Then in January of 59 he hung up his gun and took a plane to L.A. with a sheaf of poems and a heroin habit which he kicked in Venice. He first read at the Venice West Cafe that summer, where he met the poet-painter Stuart Z. Perkoff and Tony Scibella. They have been bonded acolytes serving the Muse ever since.
The Lady Muse touched Frankies tongue, touched it literally and She has infused his poetry ever since.This book begins with an invocation to Her, and he speaks to Her, of Her, throughout.
Love lyrics, solitary meditations, poems of friendship poems of addiction and recovery, poems of the street, poems of grief, of loss, of fear and courage, poems of wisdom passed freely on: all are here. And it is all (in Ezra Pounds phrase) writing of the first intensity This book is a great city of poetry and the spirit. It must be included in any list of major works by twentieth-century poets.
John Thomas, 2002