A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos

This long-awaited volume of a poet Ted Berrigan declared "the Frank O'Hara of his generation," establishes Tim Dlugos as one of the most distinctive and energetic poets of our time. A seminal poet of the AIDS epidemic as well as a religious scholar who enrolled in Yale Divinity School near the end of his life, Dlugos died in 1990, when he was forty years old.

This definitive volume, meticulously edited and assembled by poet David Trinidad, includes nearly five hundred of Dlugos's published and unpublished works. Arranged by chronology and the poet's location, the collection highlights, as Trinidad writes in the book's introduction "distinct phases in Tim's development: youthful romantic, burgeoning artist, urbane New Yorker, [and] vigorous supplicant."

Containing poems that range from Dlugos's early riffs on pop culture and fascination with New York City life, to the hauntingly beautiful epic "G-9", written about the AIDS ward at Roosevelt Hospital, his final residence, this collection presents the life's work of a major presence in American poetry.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets, Fall 2011, Issue 41.