Frank O'Hara Poetry: American Poets Analysis
To enter the world of Frank O’Hara is to abandon all familiar road maps, to give up hope for a straight and clear way through, for easily recognizable landmarks that indicate where one is going, where one has been. With “no revolver pointing the roadmarks,” the reader is free to travel without preconceptions and without insistent points made by the poet. O’Hara’s world is closer to Lewis Carroll’s than to Robert Frost’s, being constantly full of surprises, twists in the road, byways, sharp turns, cul-de-sacs, a grotesquerie of roadside attractions, and few places to stop or rest, so that one ends up nowhere near one’s anticipated goal, perhaps not even at an ending at all but simply at a halt, like running out of gas. For that is how many O’Hara poems conclude—with neither a bang nor a whimper, but only a sudden cessation of the impetuous, rapid drive of words and images and feelings that has made up the poem. His poetry is exciting, startling, dizzying, frightening, overwhelming, demanding, involving, crude, elaborate, stark, disorderly, sexy, and sometimes very funny. As a poet crafting his art, O’Hara had as much gleeful fun—even when dealing with feelings considerably less than euphoric—as the liveliest child or the most daredevil racer.
O’Hara was the epitome of the New York poet: fast, frenzied, jazzy, upbeat, smart-aleck, shrewd, unzipped, down-to-earth, open, and full of action. Like his fellow New York poets (friends,...
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