Back in 1967, the year after O’Hara died, the New York poet Jim Brodey came knocking on my door in San Francisco and gave me a poem of O’Hara’s — “Captain Bada” — for a little mag I was editing. Brodey said it had never been published. I must’ve asked him how he happened to have the manuscript, but maybe I didn’t because I was under the impression he knew O’Hara. In any event, I loved the poem and published it as a two-page spread in the magazine’s second issue.
In 1971, when The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara came out, I saw that “Captain Bada” wasn’t included. I suppose I should have asked the editor Donald Allen why not — he knew the magazine, and we had a glancing acquaintance. But I simply assumed he had overlooked it. Later the thought dawned on me that Brodey might have faked the manuscript and written the poem himself. If he did, my hat’s off to him. It’s a great piece of work. (Please see Maureen O’Hara’s comment below.)Related