The first new selection of O’Hara’s work to come along in several decades. In this “marvellous compilation” (The New Yorker), editor Mark Ford reacquaints us with one of the most joyous and innovative poets of the postwar period.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Frank O’Hara was the author of six volumes of poetry, the first of which was published in 1952. He was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art and wrote numerous essays on painting and sculpture. He died in 1966 at the age of forty.
Mark Ford has published several books of poetry and is the author of the critical biography Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams.
Read an Excerpt
My HeartI’m not going to cry all the timenor shall I laugh all the time,I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.I’d have the immediacy of a bad movie,not just a sleeper, but also the big,overproduced first-run kind. I want to beat least as alive as the vulgar. And ifsome aficionado of my mess says “That’snot like Frank!,” all to the good! Idon’t wear brown and grey suits all the time,do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,often. I want my feet to be bare,I want my face to be shaven, and my heart–you can’t plan on my heart, butthe better part of it, my poetry, is open.The Day Lady DiedIt is 12:20 in New York, a Fridaythree days after Bastille day, yesit is 1959 and I go get a shoeshinebecause I will get off the 4:19 in Easthamptonat 7:15 and then go straight to dinnerand I don’t know the people who will feed meI walk up the muggy street beginning to sunand have a hamburger and a malted and buyan ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poetsin Ghana are doing these daysI go on to the bankand Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her lifeand in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlainefor Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I dothink of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore orBrendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègresof Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaineafter practically going to sleep with quandarinessand for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANELiquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega andthen I go back where I came from to 6th Avenueand the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a cartonof Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on itand I am sweating a lot by now and thinking ofleaning on the john door in the 5 SPOTwhile she whispered a song along the keyboardto Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathingHaving a Coke With Youis even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonneor being sick to my stomach on the Traversa de Gracia in Barcelonapartly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastianpartly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurtpartly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birchespartly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuaryit is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as stillas solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of itin the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forthbetween each other like a tree breathing through its spectaclesand the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paintyou suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did themI lookat you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the worldexcept possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frickwhich thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first timeand the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurismjust as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase orat a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow meand what good does all the research of the Impressionists do themwhen they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sankor for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefullyas the horseit seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experiencewhich is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it