Last Poems

by John Farris

7 x 7 in.
120 pages
ISBN 9781648230509

The first major and only available collection from John Farris, a seminal Black voice in downtown New York City poetry, featuring his final poems transcribed and in manuscript form, along with the self-portraits and drawings he made at the same time.

“The muses themselves draw inspiration from John Farris.”

“John Farris’ poetry masterfully demonstrates the unifying principles of jazz improvisation and poetic transcendence.”

“There is a hidden blessing in knowing John Farris… deeply hidden.”

“I’ve only heard John Farris’ poems read to me by the poet himself, late at night, out on the street—poems pulled from his pockets and fresh from his head, dissolving beautifully into the darkness. And now I have them in my hands!”

John Farris (1940-2016) was the ultimate gadfly of the New York poetry scene, a universally known and revered genius. Author of the small press novel The Ass’ Tale and poetry collection It’s Not About Time, these Last Poems are his first widely available works. A collection of drawings along with facsimile and transcribed poems from the end of his life, these documents were unearthed by Archway Editions founders Nicodemus Nicoludis and Chris Molnar (who lived next door to Farris during the last years of his life) along with the artist Andrew Castrucci, who founded the Bullet Space Urban Arts Collective. It’s a profound monument to a poet who resolutely lived on the margins, and whose voice is all the more important because of it.

It’s some of his best work, short and elegiac but with the unexpected wit and sharpness and kaleidoscopic frame of reference typical of Farris. This is the first collection of many that doubtless will appear from his unpublished, uncollected work, a lifetime’s worth written in defiance of the bullshit, searching for the real unwritten truth – as one poem goes, in its entirety:

thing’s out
there- aft (her
the uni-
verse). The verse
is yet.