By Lytle Shaw
During this stimulating and cutting edge synthesis of recent York's creative and literary worlds, Lytle Shaw makes use of the social and philosophical difficulties fascinated about “reading” a coterie to suggest a brand new language for knowing the poet, paintings critic, and Museum of recent paintings curator Frank O'Hara (1926-1966). O'Hara's poems are famously choked with right names---from these of his instant buddies and co-workers within the manhattan writing and paintings worlds (John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Grace Hartigan, Willem de Kooning, and plenty of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers) to a extensive variety of well known cultural and literary heroes (Apollinaire to Jackie O). yet instead of comprehend O'Hara's most typically referenced names as a set and insular viewers, Shaw argues that he makes use of the ambiguities of reference linked to the names to invent a fluid and moving kinship structure---one that spread out radical percentages for a homosexual author working open air the constitution of the family members. As Shaw demonstrates, this dedication to an experimental version of organization additionally courses O'Hara's artwork writing. Like his poetry, O'Hara's artwork writing too has been condemned as insular, coterie writing. actually, even though, he used to be on my own between Fifties critics in his willingness to think about summary expressionism not just in the dominant languages of existentialism and formalism but in addition in the chilly struggle political and well known cultural frameworks that count on a number of the issues of up to date paintings historians. Situating O'Hara inside a variety of debates approximately art's attainable kinfolk to its viewers, Shaw demonstrates that his curiosity in coterie is much less a symptomatic offshoot of his biography than an intensive literary and inventive invention.
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Extra info for Frank O'Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (Contemp North American Poetry)
This happens in reverse in the ﬁrst lines of “Thinking of James Dean”: “Like a nickelodeon soaring over the island from sea to bay, / two pots of gold, and the ﬂushed effulgence of a sky Tiepolo / and Turner had compiled in vistavision” (CP 230). Again, the point is a kind of energized connection that strips famous names of established connotations, while highlighting others. This process comes together perhaps most clearly and hilariously in biographia letteraria: gertrude stein She hated herself because she wrote prose.
Dear Berrigan. He died Back to books. m. in New York and I’ve been running around all day old come-all-ye’s streel into the streets. 42 Marjorie Perloff, for instance, is quick to take up such a reading: “By 1964 or so, O’Hara’s style, especially the style of the ‘I do this, I do that’ poems, was beginning to have a marked inﬂuence” (P 178). Of Berrigan’s Sonnets and Ron Padgett’s poem “16 November 1964,” Perloff writes, “Such early imitations were, of course, merely derivative; in these poems, Berrigan and Padgett capture the O’Hara manner without the substance” (P 179).
Death seems the only metaphor distant enough to truly measure our existence. Frank understood this. That is why these poems, so colloquial, so conversational, nevertheless seem to be reaching us from some other, inﬁnitely distant place. Bad artists throughout history have always tried to make art like life. Only the artist who is close to his own life gives us an art that is like death. (H 13–14) O’Hara’s quotidian yet paradoxically deathlike work thus gives Feldman an insight (“we create only as dead men”) that seems to run directly counter to Donne’s and Marotti’s contextual imperative.