Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Frank O’Hara: Poet Among Painters
Marjorie Perloff

£23.50

Drawing extensively upon the poet’s unpublished manuscripts – poems, journals, essays, and letters – as well as all his published works, Marjorie Perloff presents Frank O’Hara as one of the central poets of the postwar period and an important critic of the visual arts. Perloff traces the poet’s development through his early years at Harvard and his interest in French Dadaism and Surrealism to his later poems that fuse literary influence with elements from Abstract Expressionist painting, atonal music, and contemporary film. This edition contains a new introduction addressing O’Hara’s homosexuality, his attitudes toward racism, and changes in the poetic climate in recent years.

Paperback, 270pp
University of Chicago Press, 1998
ISBN 9780226660592

Biography

FRANK O’HARA (1926-1966) was a dynamic leader of the “New York School” of poets, a group that included John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. The Abstract Expressionist painters in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s used the title, but the poets borrowed it. From the beginning O’Hara’s poetry was engaged with the worlds of music, dance, and painting. In that complex of associations he devised an idea of poetic form that allowed the inclusion of many kinds of events, including everyday conversations and notes about New York advertising signs. Since his death in 1966 at age forty, the depth and richness of his achievements as a poet and art critic have been recognized by an international audience. As the painter Alex Katz remarked, “Frank’s business was being an active intellectual.” His articulate intelligence made new proposals for poetic form possible in American poetry.