Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Selected Poems
Frank O’Hara

£12.95

Frank O’Hara is among the most intriguing and radical poets of the twentieth century. He is celebrated for his apparently unpremeditated poems, autobiographical and immediate (‘any time, any place’). This is not the whole O’Hara: he may have scribbled poems on serviettes, but others he worked on with intense concentration, creating sequences that are inexhaustibly nuanced, full of surprise, heartbreak and laughter.

There are analogies between his work and that of the painters he championed, Pollock, Kline and de Kooning among them. He is resolutely metropolitan, and his metropolis is New York City. He brilliantly captured the pace and rhythms, quandaries and exhilarations, of its mid-twentieth-century life.

Paperback, 180pp
Carcanet Press, 2005
ISBN 9781857547719

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.