Gil Fagiani reads from Crossing 116th Street: A Blanquito in El Barrio

Gil Fagiani fell in love with East Harlem in the 60s. As a young, idealistic, activist his passions led him to work in an antipoverty agency, drug addiction, recovery, and a career in social work. His first chapbook of poetry, Crossing 116th Street: A Blanquito in El Barrio, is an in-depth glimpse of his journey and back.

“Out of the squishy swamp of dead personal lyrics that is contemporary American poetry, Gil Fagiani’s hard-boned zombies rise out of his first collection of poetry. His poems of a white junkie in East Harlem are crafty narratives that sing the music of a lived life: sex, compassion, friendship, justice, mercy, comedy, and betrayal. Fagiani is a poet of unusual power. Crossing 116th Street is that rare thing — a necessary good book.

— Angelo Verga