Mar 6, 2011
Sunday Video: Frank O'Hara
Mark Doty describes Frank O'Hara's poetry as “often casual, relaxed in diction, yet it presses forward with a kind of breathless urgency, a will to celebrate the density and richness of experience—in all its refusal to be summed up, to marshal itself into an orderly vision—by including as much as possible. Many of these pieces have been labeled "I do this, I do that" poems; they report whole chunks of experience, days of walking, conversing, noticing, with careful specificity. Place-names and the names of friends and acquaintances abound; paradoxically, their inclusion seems to make the poems more universal, more available, convinced as we are by their artfully shaped controlling tone of the authenticity of the speaker’s voice.”
My favorite poems by Frank O'Hara are those that are written about the simplest of moments. One in particular - 'At the Old Place' - is a celebratory four stanza poem about dancing with friends. I've uploaded a PDF copy of it if you'd like to read it.
One of my favorite books about any writer is Joe LeSueur's Digressions on Some Poems By Frank O'Hara: A Memoir. It's a wonderfully written bio, memoir, and love story about a friend/roommate/sometime lover. The book includes some of O'Hara's work followed by anecdotes and background connected to the poems. It is also a vivid portrait of the New York art & poetry scene of that time. I highly recommend it.
The libraries are filled with O'Hara's books. Why not grab a friend, hop the train & go downtown to check out some O'Hara poetry or a bio from the library. Then stop and have a Coke. Remember, it's the simple things.
Enjoy your Sunday Video: Frank O'Hara reading 'Having a Coke With You.'
what is homo-centric?
homo-centric is a monthly reading series curated by Hank Henderson. The series is hosted by Stories Books & Cafe in Echo Park and takes place the 3rd Thursday of every month. By offering this space for LGBTQI writers to gather & share their words we hope to create a renewed sense of community. There's a hunger for connection and a wonder about our collective history that needs to be nurtured and continued.