Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Why I am Not a Painter and Other Poems
Frank O’Hara

£9.95

Frank O’Hara composed poems ‘any time, any place’, collaborating with and inspired by a circle of artists, musicians and poets, immersed in the creative life of New York. For O’Hara, the city was a place of possibility, both disorientating and exciting, and his poems have an immediacy that draws its energies from the pace and rhythms of city life, and from the contemporary artforms of jazz, film and painting. It is this openness to experience that makes O’Hara an indispensable poet of the imaginative experience of the modern city.

Paperback, 96pp
Carcanet Press, 2003
ISBN 9781857546880

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.