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O Harashbery!

C.K. Stead, 23 April 1992

The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara 
edited by Donald Allen.
Carcanet, 233 pp., £18.95, October 1991, 0 85635 939 4
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Flow Chart 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 213 pp., £16.95, September 1991, 0 85635 947 5
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... I remember the pleasure of my first reading of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems when it came out in 1964 in a City Lights edition uniform (except that it was blue and red, not black and white) with Ginsberg’s Howl, Kaddish and Reality Sandwiches. Two years later O’Hara was dead, killed by a dune buggy at an all-night party on Fire Island. There was something Keatsian about his poetry, its vividness and particularity, and its spontaneity, though there might be difficulties for a critic who wanted to argue, as Matthew Arnold did when he tried to rescue Keats from the aesthetes, that ‘there was flint and iron in him ...

Living on Apple Crumble

August Kleinzahler: James Schuyler, 17 November 2005

Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler 1951-91 
edited by William Corbett.
Turtle Point, 470 pp., £13.99, May 2005, 1 885586 30 2
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... home is a nuisance, a publicity plot, a cabal; and please don’t track the carpet. A letter to Donald Allen in September 1959 lists his influences, and those of his New York pals. These include Auden (‘though if Auden doesn’t drop the word numinous pretty soon, I shall squawk’), Pound, Eliot and Marianne Moore (but ‘after a bout of syllable ...

Oms and Hums

Julian Symons, 22 March 1990

Ginsberg: A Biography 
by Barry Miles.
Viking, 588 pp., £20, January 1990, 0 670 82683 9
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... glances in the direction of social orthodoxy made by the younger English novelists. The heroes of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, ‘destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked/dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix’ positively bounced with energy when put beside Donald Davie ...

Donald Davie and the English

Christopher Ricks, 22 May 1980

Trying to Explain 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 213 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 85635 343 4
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... fact of being everywhere a foreigner was probably an assistance to his native wit.’ And Donald Davie, who everywhere has his native wits about him, has he profited much from living abroad? In half-praise of George Steiner, Davie floats ‘a tradition of high-flying speculation about literature, which we costive islanders cannot afford not to profit ...

Men at forty

Derek Mahon, 21 August 1980

Selected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 137 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 85646 058 3
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Exactions 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 80 pp., £2.95, April 1980, 0 85635 332 9
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... The first poem by Donald Justice I ever read was the much anthologised sestina, ‘Here in Katmandu’: We have climbed the mountain, There’s nothing more to do ... It seemed to me then, and seems to me now, a beautiful and mysterious object, resonant and yet resistant to paraphrase. It might be said that it is a poem of regret for the death of idealism, a poem about coming to terms with quotidian reality, and, therefore, in some sense about ‘the way we live now ...

‘I intend to support white rule’

Ian Hamilton: Allen Tate, 24 May 2001

Allen Tate: Orphan of the South 
by Thomas Underwood.
Princeton, 447 pp., £21.95, December 2000, 0 691 06950 6
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... When Allen Tate died in 1979, Simon and Schuster speedily commissioned a biography, to be written, they announced, by Ned O’Gorman, a poet of some reputation and a friend of two of Tate’s three wives. O’Gorman, it would seem, got going in the usual way, writing to all the obvious Tate contacts and attempting to interview key intimates ...

At Oberlin

Anne Wagner: Eva Hesse, 30 July 2020

... from the enormous collection of Hesse’s works and papers (some 1500 items) housed at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio. Hesse wasn’t educated at Oberlin, but at Yale: it was her elder sister, Helen, who chose Oberlin for reasons that, many years later, seem both savvy and poignant. She wanted the collection to mark Hesse’s ...

Kooked

Mark Ford, 10 March 1994

Selected Poems 
by Charles Olson, edited by Robert Creeley.
California, 225 pp., $25, December 1993, 0 520 07528 5
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Selected Poems 
by Robert Duncan, edited by Robert Bertholf.
Carcanet, 147 pp., £9.95, October 1993, 1 85754 038 7
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... variety of claimants. A list of poets who have profited from his achievement would include Allen Ginsberg and Louis Zukofsky (both Jewish), the Lowell of Notebook, the Orientally-minded Kenneth Rexroth and Gary Snyder on whom Cathay made such an impact, British poets as different from each other as Donald Davie and ...

Hi, Louise!

Stephanie Burt: Frank O’Hara, 20 July 2000

In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art 
by Russell Ferguson.
California, 160 pp., £24.50, October 1999, 0 520 22243 1
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The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets 
by David Lehman.
Anchor, 448 pp., $16.95, November 1999, 0 385 49533 1
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Frank O’Hara: Poet among Painters 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 266 pp., £13.50, March 1998, 0 226 66059 1
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... when his enormous posthumous Collected won America’s National Book Award for 1971; its editor, Donald Allen, has since brought out a Selected and several more volumes of prose and verse. During the 1950s, O’Hara reviewed art and contemporary classical music. He wrote at least seven poems called ‘On Rachmaninoff’s Birthday’, and many others in ...

Homage to Ezra Pound

C.K. Stead, 19 March 1981

The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound 
by Michael Alexander.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.95, April 1979, 0 571 10560 2
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Ezra Pound and the Pisan Cantos 
by Anthony Woodward.
Routledge, 128 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 7100 0372 2
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Ezra Pound and the Cantos: A Record of Struggle 
by Wendy Stallard Flory.
Yale, 321 pp., £12.60, July 1980, 0 300 02392 8
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Ezra Pound and His World 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Thames and Hudson, 127 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 500 13069 8
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End to Torment: A Memoir of Ezra Pound with Poems from Ezra Pound’s H.D. Book 
edited by Norman Holmes Pearson and Michael King.
Carcanet, 84 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 0 85635 318 3
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... In 1949 when a panel of his fellow poets (including T.S. Eliot, Robert Lowell, W.H. Auden and Allen Tate) awarded Ezra Pound the Bollingen Prize for The Pisan Cantos there was an immediate and angry public debate. The reaction is not surprising and might have been worse had the texts of Pound’s wartime broadcasts over Rome Radio been publicly available ...

Fallen Language

Donald Davie, 21 June 1984

The Lords of Limit: Essays on Literature and Ideas 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Deutsch, 203 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 233 97581 0
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... to have wanted to create a monumental art – in this following one of his American masters, Allen Tate, and disregarding another, John Crowe Ransom, who eschewed the monumental as consistently as Tate strained after it. (In The Lords of Limit there is an essay on Ransom which argues in the end – in the end only, for the drift is hard to discern and ...

Neurotic Health

Michael Shepherd, 17 December 1981

Becoming Psychiatrists 
by Donald Light.
Norton, 429 pp., £10.95, June 1981, 0 393 01168 2
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... them the departments of psychiatry in the medical schools. How this was effected is the subject of Donald Light’s book. Light is a medical sociologist who sets out to examine ‘what kinds of people choose to become psychiatrists, how their training experience alters their sense of illness, treatment and responsibility, how they cope with suicidal ...

I am Prince Mishkin

Mark Ford, 23 April 1987

‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... Lamantia, describes the poem’s impact in Scratching the Beat Surface (1982): I hadn’t seen Allen in a few weeks and I had not heard Howl – it was new to me. Allen began in a small and intensely lucid voice. At some point Jack Kerouac began shouting ‘GO’ in cadence as ...

At the Gagosian

Peter Campbell: ‘Crash’, 11 March 2010

... the future.’ Others remind you that the dystopian world has its pleasures. On the page facing Allen Jones’s Archway (a sculpture in the Heathrow Hilton, Ballard’s favourite London building), you read that ‘sitting in its atrium one becomes, briefly, a more advanced kind of human being. Within this remarkable building one could never fall in love, or ...

Vehicles of Dissatisfaction

Jonathan Dollimore: Men and Motors, 24 July 2003

Autopia: Cars and Culture 
edited by Peter Wollen and Joe Kerr.
Reaktion, 400 pp., £25, November 2002, 1 86189 132 6
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... contributors to Autopia grapple with these problems, but for the most part not very energetically. Allen Samuels tells us that the car ‘like all epochal icons . . . does not mean one thing, but many things’. In that sense it is an ‘empty sign. It is a vacuum. We fill it with meaning.’ Some of the contributions to Autopia suggest that any meaning will ...

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