This month we celebrate the publication of a new Selected Poems of Frank O'Hara (1926-1966), edited by Mark Ford. O'Hara, one of the most influential and original writers of the postwar period, wrote poems that catch the rhythms and heartbreak of New York City, where he arrived in 1951, soon to become a key member of what is known as the New York School of poets (John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler were other notable members). Not beholden to the older modern tradition of poets like T. S. Eliot, but not aligned with the Beats either, the group, with O'Hara its most insouciant spirit, created a movement in American poetry that only becomes more influential as the years pass. O'Hara, who believed poems should be as intimate as phone conversations, "disliked and distrusted theories of poetry," Ford tells us in his introduction, "but was in no way naive about his own procedures, which result, in his best work, in a style of writing that somehow manages to fuse immediacy with a glamorous hyper-sophistication and extreme self-consciousness." Today's selection is a poem O'Hara wrote in 1960.
Click here to print a downloadable broadside of O'Hara's classic poem "Having a Coke With You," and watch for podcasts of Knopf poets reading their favorite O'Hara poems, to come throughout the month.
A collection of Frank O'Hara's manuscripts and letters is a part of the Berg Collection of The New York Public Library. To learn more about this important cultural institution, sign up for their free e-newsletter, The New York Public Library News: http://ga6.org/enypl/join.tcl?qp_source=knopf
Excerpt from FRANK O'HARA: SELECTED POEMS . Copyright © 2008 by Maureen Granville-Smith. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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