Stephanie Burt: Frank O’Hara, 20 July 2000
Show More In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art by Russell Ferguson.
California, 160 pp., £24.50, October 1999, 0 520 22243 1Show More
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 1Show More
Frank O’Hara: Poet among Painters by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 266 pp., £13.50, March 1998, 0 226 66059 1Show More
“... Open Frank O’Hara’s Collected Poems at random, somewhere in the middle, and you may get what looks like a Post-It note to a friend, or versified notes on a Jackson Pollock painting, a James Dean movie or ‘the music of Adolphe Deutsch’. You may also get one of many enticing, informal, secretly-complex poems that sound like nobody else ever has: How can you start hating me when I’m so comfortable in your raincoat the apples kept bumping off the old gnarled banged-up biddy-assed tree and I kept ducking and hugging and bobbing as if you were a tub of water on Hallowe’en it was fun but you threw yourself into reverse like a tractor hugging the ground in spring that was nice too more rain more raincoat (‘Adventures In Living’) Who was O’Hara, and how did he learn to write like that? Born in 1926, he grew up in small towns in Massachusetts, studied piano seriously throughout high school and served in the Navy at the close of World War II ...”