Frank O'Hara 1926-1966
(Full name Francis Russell O'Hara) American poet, essayist, playwright, and art critic.
A member of the New York School of Poets, O'Hara applied the techniques of Abstract Expressionist painting and French Surrealism to his writing, constructing poems in which he often employed words as units of form and sound without meaning and juxtaposed seemingly random images and ideas. Often compared to Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, O'Hara drew on mundane details from urban life to create poetry characterized by immediacy and apparent superficiality. Although early critical reaction to O'Hara's poetry was mixed, his reputation has increased steadily since his death, and critics have noted his immense influence on subsequent poets.
Raised in Massachusetts, O'Hara entered Harvard University in 1946 after serving two years in the U.S. Navy. He studied music at first, hoping to become a concert pianist but later switched to English. While attending Harvard, he wrote his first poems and also met John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, poets with whom he was later associated as a member of a literary circle known as the New York School of Poets. After graduating from Harvard, O'Hara studied for a year at the University of Michigan, earning a master's degree in English and creative writing and winning a Hopwood Award for a collection of poems and the verse play Try! Try! In the fall of 1951, O'Hara moved to New York City. Except for a two-year stint as an editorial associate for Art News, O'Hara worked for the Museum of Modern Art for the next fifteen years, rising from sales clerk to associate curator. He wrote reviews and articles for the museum and various journals during this time as well as poetry and plays. He published his first collection of verse, A City Winter, and Other Poems, in 1952. Like the other New York School poets, O'Hara established close personal ties with such Abstract Expressionist painters as Larry Rivers and Jackson Pollock. O'Hara died suddenly in 1966 from injuries sustained after being hit by a dune-buggy.
Described as spontaneous and nonreferential, O'Hara's poems create a collage of seemingly insignificant details from urban life. “The Day Lady Died,” for instance, contrasts the mundane activities of an ordinary day with a few concluding lines concerning Billie Holiday and her death. “Personal Poem” lacks any periods or rests, suggesting that objects and ideas are events that should be immediately consumed and dropped. Rarely the subject of his poems, O'Hara appears to be only an observer, as the title of the poem “A Step Away from Them” suggests. However, O'Hara fills his poems with personal details and private jokes intended for his circle of friends. He thus expresses both distance and intimacy, presenting the reader with an elusive and contradictory depiction of himself. He also explores culture images and myths in his work. In his poem “On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art,” O'Hara mocks America's first president, George Washington, as well as the heroic myth associated with the general, depicting him as anxious, cold, and fearful. At the same time, however, he pays tribute to Washington and re-mythologizes the crossing by approaching an authentic rendering of the historical event and portraying Washington as a complex person engaged in a dangerous and difficult endeavor.
Although O'Hara's poetry was initially met with mixed reviews, commentators have reassessed his poetic oeuvre and, as a result, his reputation as a poet has steadily improved in the years since his death. Most critics have focused on the importance O'Hara's poetry imputes to the present and the trivial. In explaining the apparent superficiality of his poetry, some reviewers have argued that O'Hara's poems lack depth because he treats significant events in a trivial fashion and because his images are fleeting and lack frames of references. Others contend that O'Hara's focus on everyday details reveals the significance inherent in all aspects of experience and suggests that the value of life is equivalent to the vitality with which it is experienced. O'Hara's focus on the present, as evidenced by his fast-paced style, has also been interpreted as a warning against dwelling on the past. Other critics have focused on O'Hara's presentation of self. Scholars have also noted O'Hara's interest in cultural images and myths. Commentators have viewed O'Hara's poetry as a reaction to literary history, particularly modernism. Many reviewers have noted the parallels between O'Hara's poetry and that of Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, while other have commented on O'Hara's influence on later poets.
A City Winter, and Other Poems 1952
Meditations in an Emergency 1957
Second Avenue 1960
Lunch Poems 1965
Love Poems (Tentative Title) 1965
In Memory of My Feelings 1967
The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara 1971
The Selected Poems of Frank O'Hara 1974
Early Writing: 1946-1950 1977
Poems Retrieved: 1950-1966 1977
Try! Try! (play) 1951
Jackson Pollock (criticism) 1959
Art Chronicles, 1954-66 (criticism) 1975
Standing Still and Walking in New York (essays, criticism, and interview) 1975
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SOURCE: Vendler, Helen. “The Virtues of the Alterable.” Parnassus: Poetry in Review 1, no. 12 (fall-winter 1972): 5-20.
[In the following essay, Vendler provides a thematic and stylistic analysis of O'Hara's poetry.]
Now that Knopf has given us O'Hara's Collected Poems they had better rapidly produce a Selected Poems, a book that wouldn't drown O'Hara in his own fluency. For the record, we need this new collection; for the sake of fame and poetry, we need a massively reduced version, showing O'Hara at his best. His charms are inseparable from his overproduction—the offhand remark, the fleeting notation of a landscape, the Christmas or birthday verse, the impromptu souvenir of a party—these are his common forms, as though he roamed through life snapping Polaroid pictures, pulling them out of his camera and throwing them in a desk drawer sixty seconds later. And here they are—some overexposed, some under-developed, some blurred, some unfocused, and yet any number of them succeeding in fixing the brilliance of some long-forgotten lunch, or the curve of a body in a single gesture, or a snowstorm, or a childhood movie. If these poems are photographic in their immediacy, they remind us too of the rapid unfinished sketches done by an artist to keep his hand in, or to remind him of some perishable composition of the earth. If there were a movie equivalent to a sketch, some of these poems...
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SOURCE: Molesworth, Charles. “‘The Clear Architecture of the Nerves’: The Poetry of Frank O'Hara.” Iowa Review (summer-fall 1975): 61-74.
[In the following essay, Molesworth considers O'Hara's place within the context of modern poetry.]
Frank O'Hara's Collected Poems, as profuse in their inventiveness as they are pervasive in their influence, demand that we attempt to judge their place in American poetry. It is not only because these poems skirt the edges of such contiguous but opposing aesthetic qualities as artless simplicity and dazzling elaboration that they are hard to judge. These poems outline their own territory by operating with a high degree of consciousness about themselves as literature, and simultaneously flouting the notions of decorum and propriety. Just when they seem placed, or placeable, in some historical or theoretical classification, they are off again saying such classifications don't matter, and it's clearly wrong-headed of people to ask any poem to maintain an attitude long enough to be labelled. For all we can say about them, they yet remain chastely irreducible, as if they wanted nothing so much as to beggar commentary. But if we read them in bulk, we are left with the peculiar sensation we've been listening to a manic waif, someone for whom any audience becomes the most charitable therapy, for as soon as the poems stop talking, stop chatting, their speaker will...
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SOURCE: Meyer, Thomas. “Glistening Torsos, Sandwiches, and Coca-Cola.” Parnassus: Poetry in Review 6, no. 1 (fall-winter 1977): 241-57.
[In the following review, Meyer surveys the strengths and weakness of O'Hara's verse and links his work with the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire.]
Since the last War the United States has had a certain number of poets die young and unexpectedly, leaving behind them a body of work that begs for immediate evaluation in terms of authentic greatness. The directness and quality of impact these poets had on their own and a budding generation allows them, once dead, to contend for the title of unsung, overlooked Major Figure. It is hard to tell how much of this ambience was their presence and how much the poems themselves. And that makes us uneasy, as does the life not lived out, especially when there was definitely a spark of promise evident. Alas, greatness or the “major” is quixotic, never anything like its last appearance, try as we may to predict its next. That does not stop us in our need to proclaim genius, or even to cry humbug in the constant battle against our fear that nothing ever amounts to anything, so why bother. But asking whether X or Y were geniuses we run up against the “minor” and near-great, more comfortable, less problematic judgments to make. All the same, we're uneasy. Especially when faced with previous misses and faux pas; it is always good...
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SOURCE: Perloff, Marjorie. “In Favor of One's Time (1954-61).” In Frank O'Hara: Poet Among Painters, pp. 113-63. New York: George Braziller, 1977.
[In the following essay, Perloff delineates the defining stylistic features of O'Hara's verse.]
—and it was given to me as the soul is given the hands to hold the ribbons of life! as miles streak by beneath the moon's sharp hooves and I have mastered the speed and strength which is the armor of the world.
(“There I Could Never Be A Boy,” CP, [The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara] 216)
In 1954, Frank O'Hara was twenty-eight. Within the seven “green and turbulent” years that followed, he produced his finest poems and collaborations as well as his best art criticism. It was, both personally and artistically, the golden period of his life. During the summer of 1955, for example, he wrote to Fairfield Porter that he had written a new batch of poems, “so summery I don't know how they'll make the difficult transition to fall. Perhaps just shrivel up, turn brown and blow away. That would make me feel very grand. After all, if we can't make leaves, neither can god poems.”1
By the late fifties, O'Hara was at the center of a circle of artists that included … the poets John Ashbery (then living in Paris but in close communication), James Schuyler, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch,...
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SOURCE: Kikel, Rudy. “The Gay Frank O'Hara.” In Frank O'Hara: To Be True to a City, edited by Jim Elledge, pp. 334-49. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1978, Kikel discusses O'Hara as a gay poet.]
The stream seems to have spilled itself out, the stream that (after the freak Fire Island beach accident ending his life, in 1966, at the age of forty) delivered Frank O'Hara over to us—or us to him, those of us who had not been his already—the stream that has had at its editorial source the tireless efforts of poet and anthologist Donald Allen, from whose hands we have five hundred pages of Collected Poems (Knopf, 1971),1 selections from them (1974), and three books care of the Grey Fox Press in Bolinas, California: Standing Still and Walking in New York, 1975, a volume of his fugitive art criticism and other prose statements, and, in 1977, the Early Writing and Poems Retrieved, which includes work not discovered in time to be included in the Collected Poems, not deemed significant or complete enough, or some gay readers might suspect, not deemed fit—such may have been the state of gay liberation in 1972—to see the light (Allen professes to have printed in the large volume O'Hara's published poems “together with all the unpublished poems he conceivably would...
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SOURCE: Feldman, Alan. “Language and Style.” In Frank O'Hara, pp. 45-63. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979.
[In the following essay, Feldman examines stylistic aspects of O'Hara's poetry.]
O'Hara's poetry is innovative, but he disliked theorizing. His attitude toward the craft of poetry was that there ought not to be much. “You just go on your nerve,” he explained. “I don't believe in god, so I don't have to make elaborately sounded structures. … I don't even like rhythm, assonance, all that stuff. … If someone's chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don't turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’” O'Hara goes on to say that as for “measure” and other technical matters in poetry “that's just common sense: if you're going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you. There's nothing metaphysical about it” ([CP The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara] 498). Few poets, if any, have pretended to be so offhand about the technique of verse.
But even though such nonstatements tell us little about O'Hara's method as a poet, they do give us some account of the reasons O'Hara wrote the way he did. O'Hara rejected the possibility of metaphysical truth. Because he did not believe a poet should seek to impose order on experience, he did not want to impose...
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SOURCE: Blasing, Mutlu Konuk. “Frank O'Hara's Poetics of Speech: The Example of ‘Biotherm’.” Contemporary Literature 23, no. 1 (winter 1982): 52-64.
[In the following essay, Blasing considers O'Hara's use of language in “Biotherm.”]
Reflect a moment on the flesh in which you're mired
(“In the Movies”)
Discussions of Frank O'Hara's technique in terms of painterly surfaces must content themselves with proposing analogies: “The surface of the painting, and by analogy the surface of the poem, must, then, be regarded as a field upon which the physical energies of the artist can operate, without mediation of metaphor or symbol.”1 But the spatial analogy of an “energy field” is somewhat misleading, for O'Hara's surface is usually temporal. It is the line of speech that is his principle of organization, the principle determining his surface coherence. Yet O'Hara's speech cannot be regarded simply as “chatter” or “conversation,” again reducing his poems to mere surface. In “Biotherm,” O'Hara's last major poem, the speech has both surface and depth. A more appropriate painterly analogy might be found in O'Hara's description of Jackson Pollock's achievement: “The scale of the painting became that of the painter's body, not the image of a body. …”2 In these terms, the “scale” of “Biotherm” is the...
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SOURCE: Elledge, Jim, editor. “‘Never Argue with the Movies’: Love and the Cinema in the Poetry of Frank O'Hara.” In Frank O'Hara: To Be True to a City, pp. 350-57. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1988, Elledge investigates the influence of the cinema on O'Hara's poetry.]
No poetry has been more influenced by the movies than Frank O'Hara's. Many critics have noted that O'Hara employed cinematic technique throughout his work, pointing out, as Marjorie Perloff has, that his images “move, dissolve, cut into something else, fade in or out” as scenes in films do.1 Others, such as James Breslin, view O'Hara's consciousness as “moving, taking in things … with the speed and precision of a movie camera.”2 However, O'Hara's use of film goes beyond technique per se.
In his long poem “Ode to Michael Goldberg ('s Birth and Other Births),” O'Hara recalls his initial meeting with the silver screen one “sweet-smelling summer” of his youth,3 and in “To the Film Industry in Crisis” (pp. 232-33), he admits that it is not haut culture—neither “lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals,” “experimental theatre,” nor “promenading Grand Opera”—that is important to his life. Rather, in a half-humorous, half-serious apostrophe to the silver screen of his youth, he...
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SOURCE: Bowers, Neal. “The City Limits: Frank O'Hara's Poetry.” In Frank O'Hara: To Be True to a City, edited by Jim Elledge, pp. 321-33. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990.
[In the following essay, Bowers emphasizes the importance of New York City in O'Hara's poetry, yet contends that his association with the city has ultimately devalued his work.]
Frank O'Hara and New York City are as inseparable as Whitman and Paumanok or Williams and Paterson; but in a curious way O'Hara, unlike his predecessors, has been diminished by the association. Labeled a member of “The New York School” of poetry, O'Hara has been conveniently identified and filed away by literary taxonomists, despite the insistence by some critics that the designation is limiting and does a disservice to his work.1 Ironically, the element that makes O'Hara's poems unique and exciting—New York City—has been the source of their devaluation, as if a dominant gene enabled a man to fly but also rendered him invisible.
O'Hara may not be invisible, but he is less distinct when dressed like his friends and fellow New York poets John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. While off-the-rack criticism hasn't clothed them all in plaid, it has given them the same downtown duds and hidden the avant-garde in jazzy but not very interesting look-alike suits. Consequently, Frank O'Hara is easily missed at...
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SOURCE: Lowney, John. “The ‘Post-Anti-Esthetic’ Poetics of Frank O'Hara.” Contemporary Literature 32, no. 2 (summer 1991): 244-64.
[In the following essay, Lowney explores O'Hara's utilization of parody, appropriation, and allusion in his poetry and addresses his treatment of the “issue of cultural memory in postwar America.”]
It's so original, hydrogenic, anthropomorphic, fiscal, post-anti-esthetic, bland, unpicturesque and WilliamCarlosWilliamsian! it's definitely not 19th Century, it's not even Partisan Review, it's new, it must be vanguard!
—Frank O'Hara, “Poem Read at Joan Mitchell's”
In “Personism: A Manifesto,” Frank O'Hara writes that “Personism” was “founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone” (Collected Poems 499). In accentuating the moment in which this “movement” was “founded and which nobody knows about,” this manifesto / “diary” (498) mocks the pretentiousness of vanguardist polemics. Similarly, “Poem Read at Joan Mitchell's,” O'Hara's celebration of Jane Freilicher's impending marriage to Joe Hazan, playfully inscribes his poetic stance within the “vanguard,” as “it's” signifies not only the poem's occasion but the act of celebration itself. Like “Personism,” “Poem Read at Joan Mitchell's” dramatizes a moment of emotional...
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SOURCE: Eberly, David. “A Serpent in the Grass: Reading Walt Whitman and Frank O'Hara.” In The Continuing Presence of Walt Whitman: The Life after the Life, edited by Robert K. Martin, pp. 69-81. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1992.
[In the following essay, Eberly finds parallels between the poetry of Walt Whitman and Frank O'Hara.]
Born almost one hundred years apart, Walt Whitman and Frank O'Hara lived to chronicle their eras while exposing their most intimate selves. Both gay, they explored their sexuality and the “city of orgies, walks and joys”—Manhattan—which protected and nourished it, providing “lovers, continual lovers.”1 While Whitman anxiously sought a public exposure and approval which O'Hara shirked, both faced incomprehension and denigration of their work by many of their early readers. Both, too, produced a prodigious amount.
The similarities between these two poets are even more striking if one recalls not the portrait of the bard avuncularly contemplating what is now known to be a cardboard butterfly or the great profile by Thomas Eakins which so resembles New Hampshire's Old Man but a daguerreotype taken in the early 1840s. This portrait shows us a Whitman soon to be emended, a young dandy with walking stick and smart hat, a cosmopolitan man-about-town, news editor, and opera lover, the same “dainty dolce affetuoso” that he would...
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SOURCE: Bredbeck, Gregory W. “B/O—Barthes's Text/O'Hara's Trick.” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 108, no. 2 (March 1993): 268-82.
[In the following essay, Bredbeck considers the role of homosexual semiotics in O'Hara's poetry, utilizing Roland Barthes's theoretical writings.]
Give yourself over to absolute pleasure.
—Frank N. Furter, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
In 1977 Marjorie Perloff proclaimed her “growing conviction that [Frank] O'Hara is one of the central poets of the postwar period, and that his influence will continue to grow in the years to come.”1 Well over a decade later the prediction remains largely unrealized, and it is still “assumed that his poetry is trivial and frivolous” (preface). O'Hara's poetry has not entered tradition and current critical practice precisely because of critics' inability to recognize the epistemological importance of triviality and frivolity. For it is within the most flippant and campy moments of O'Hara's poetry that one can glimpse a radical potentiality that not only bespeaks an importance but also questions the importance of “importance.”
I plan to examine O'Hara's poetics neither as it intersects traditions of modernism and art nor as it memorializes the freneticism of the urban milieu of the late...
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SOURCE: Goldstein, Laurence. “‘The Audience Vanishes’: Frank O'Hara and the Mythos of Decline.” In The American Poet at the Movies, pp. 151-74. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994.
[In the following essay, Goldstein contends that O'Hara effectively addresses the crisis in the movie picture industry in the late 1950s in his poetry.]
“TO THE FILM INDUSTRY IN CRISIS”
Not you, lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals with your studious incursions toward the pomposity of ants, nor you, experimental theatre in which Emotive Fruition is wedding Poetic Insight perpetually, nor you, promenading Grand Opera, obvious as an ear (though you are close to my heart), but you, Motion Picture Industry, it's you I love! In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love. And give credit where it's due: not to my starched nurse, who taught me how to be bad and not bad rather than good (and has lately availed herself of this information), not to the Catholic Church which is at best an oversolemn introduction to cosmic entertainment not to the American Legion, which hates everybody, but to you, glorious Silver Screen, tragic Technicolor, amorphous Cinemascope, stretching Vistavision and startling Stereophonic Sound, with all your heavenly dimensions and reverberations and iconoclasms! To Richard Barthelmess as the “tol'able” boy barefoot and in pants,...
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SOURCE: Stein, Kevin. “‘Everything the Opposite’ of History.” In Private Poets, Worldly Acts, pp. 43-56. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1996.
[In the following essay, Stein explores O’Hara’s break from literary tradition and places him in the context of the 1950s.]
It may seem surprising to include within a study of “history” in contemporary poetry a poet who would seem deliberately and assiduously to refuse the public in favor of the private. True enough, O'Hara, more than most American poets, shows a fondness for spritzing his poems with references to friends and events in his life, implicitly valuing the personal over the communal experience. It is precisely this choice of the personal that interests me, not only for its aesthetic but also its historical implications. O'Hara's privileging of private over “objective” history stems from his vital opposition to another kind of history: literary history. By 1964, when Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems appeared, American poetry was already embroiled in a wrenching poetic revolution. The rebellion had been initiated variously in the fifties by the Beats, by Charles Olson's theory and practice of projective verse, by the Black Mountain poets of the Objectivist tradition issuing from William Carlos Williams, and by Robert Bly and James Wright, who late in the decade abandoned the “square poem” for an imagistic, intuitive mode modeled...
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SOURCE: Crain, Caleb. “Frank O'Hara's ‘Fired’ Self.” American Literary History 9, no. 2 (summer 1997): 287-308.
[In the following essay, Crain utilizes the work of child psychiatrist D. W. Winnicott in order to explicate stylistic aspects of O'Hara's poetry as well as his poetic theory of Personism.]
Inasmuch as the soul is present, there will be power not confident but agent.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”
A generation ago, gay male poets were supposed to be meek and ethereal. Frank O'Hara was not. O'Hara was aggressively present in his poems; he aspired to “the immediacy of a bad movie” (Collected 231). When David Bergman wrote an essay about “the egolessness of the gay male poet,” he was forced to omit O'Hara as the exception that proved his rule (47). As O'Hara's more diffident friend John Ashbery wrote, “One frequently feels that the poet [O'Hara] is trying on various pairs of brass knuckles until he finds the one which fits comfortably” (126).
This brash, anomalous ego strength has an unfortunate side effect: O'Hara's poems focus on his experience in the here and now so intensely that their constituent elements can seem trivial, and their structure as cavalier and casual as telephone gossip or lunch conversation. O'Hara succeeds because his seductive persona...
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SOURCE: Epstein, Andrew. “Frank O'Hara's Translation Game.” Raritan: A Quarterly Review 19, no. 3 (winter 2000): 144-61.
[In the following essay, Epstein asserts that “Choses Passagès” is a compelling poem that encourages further study of O’Hara’s friendship with poet John Ashbery.]
“CHOSES PASSAGèRES à JOHN ASHBERY”
J'écorche l'anguille par la queue, peut-être un nœud d'anguille, ou il y a anguille sous roche, je ne fais que toucher barres. Chapeaux bas! mais, il n'y avait pas un seul chapeau, et moi; j'avais beaucoup travaillé dans le temps. J'avais souffert un grand échec, mystérieusement. Qui se sent galeux se gratte! Hébergement? je suis à la hauteur d'une île, c'est du hasard, et je ne suis pas une haridelle, plein d'impudicité, non, non, j'imprime un mouvement à une machine, la semaine des quartre jeudis, du temps que la reine Berthe filit. J'aime partout les kinkajous. Hier soir, j'étais un labadens; maintenant? je suis un lavabo. Je mange les morilles moresques, quelle suffisance! Je suis un homme qui se noie, montant un cheval à nu, et mon ciel est couvert de nuances. Est-ce que j'ai un bel organe, hein? je fais ses orges très bien, pourquoi pas? Ce fruit est du poison tout pur, c'est la pure vérité, et pourquoi pas? ça ne nous rajeunit pas! La rouille ronge la fer, c'est un souvenir soviétique. La trébuchage, le tric-trac,...
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SOURCE: Sweet, David L. “Parodic Nostalgia for Aesthetic Machismo: Frank O'Hara and Jackson Pollock.” Journal of Modern Literature 23, nos. 3-4 (summer 2000): 375-91.
[In the following essay, Sweet investigates the influence of French avant-garde art and the painting of Jackson Pollock on O'Hara's verse and poetic theory.]
In his apologetic letter of rejection to Frank O'Hara for the 1955 Yale Younger Poets prize (awarded to John Ashbery), W. H. Auden wrote: “I think you (and John, too, for that matter) must watch what is always the great danger with any ‘surrealistic’ style, namely of confusing authentic non-logical relations which arouse wonder with accidental ones which arouse mere surprise and in the end fatigue.”1 In a letter to Kenneth Koch, O'Hara responded to Auden's comment, saying: “I don't care what Wystan says, I'd rather be dead than not have France around me like a rhinestone dog-collar.”2 In this way he confirms Auden's characterization, but only after broadening the definition of “surrealistic style” to encompass modern French poetry as a whole, thus betraying the ambivalence which the New York poets felt about bearing such a label.
Koch makes this attitude clear in an interview with Richard Kostelanetz in 1991:
No, it was not founded on surrealism or Dada. Frank read the French poets and knew...
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Gray, Timothy G. “Semiotic Shepherds: Gary Snyder, Frank O'Hara, and the Embodiment of an Urban Pastoral.” Contemporary Literature 39, no. 4 (winter 1998): 523-59.
Discusses O'Hara's poetry as an example of the “urban pastoral.”
Magee, Michael. “Tribes of New York: Frank O'Hara, Amiri Baraka, and the Poetics of the Five Spot.” Contemporary Literature 42, no. 4 (winter 2001): 694-726.
Investigates an influence of jazz music on O'Hara's work.
Shaw, Lytle. “Proximity's Plea: O'Hara's Art Writing.” Qui Parle 12, no. 2 (spring-summer 2001): 143-78.
Views some of O'Hara's work as a hybrid of art criticism and poetry.
Replogle, Justin. “Vernacular Poetry: Frost to Frank O'Hara.” Twentieth Century Literature 24, no. 3 (summer 1978): 137-53.
Examines the use of vernacular in the poetry of O'Hara and Robert Frost.
Additional coverage of O'Hara's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: Contemporary Authors, Vols. 9-12R; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 33; Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vols. 2, 5, 13, 78; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 5, 16, 193; DISCovering Authors Modules: Poets; DISCovering Authors...
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