City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara

City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara

by Brad Gooch
     
 

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The definitive biography of Frank O’Hara, one of the greatest American poets of the twentieth century, the magnetic literary figure at the center of New York’s cultural life during the 1950s and 1960s.

City Poet captures the excitement and promise of mid-twentieth-century New York in the years when it became the epicenter of the art world, and

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Overview

The definitive biography of Frank O’Hara, one of the greatest American poets of the twentieth century, the magnetic literary figure at the center of New York’s cultural life during the 1950s and 1960s.

City Poet captures the excitement and promise of mid-twentieth-century New York in the years when it became the epicenter of the art world, and illuminates the poet and artist at its heart. Brad Gooch traces Frank O’Hara’s life from his parochial Catholic childhood to World War II, through his years at Harvard and New York. He brilliantly portrays O’Hara in in his element, surrounded by a circle of writers and artists who would transform America’s cultural landscape: Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, and John Ashbery.

Gooch brings into focus the artistry and influence of a life “of guts and wit and style and passion” (Luc Sante) that was tragically abbreviated in 1966 when O’Hara, just forty and at the height of his creativity, was hit and killed by a jeep on the beach at Fire Island—a death that marked the end of an exceptional career and a remarkable era.

City Poet is illustrated with 55 black and white photographs.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Short story writer and poet Gooch has written a fine and lively biography of O'Hara, who was killed at the age of 40 in 1966 by a speeding Jeep on the beach at Fire Island after living through the whirlwind of artistic and bohemian life in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s. Born in Grafton, Mass., O'Hara left his strict Catholic father and alcoholic mother for the Navy before matriculating at Harvard and venturing to the University of Michigan. Gooch paints the everyday details of O'Hara's life--he was a published poet, a critic for ArtNews and a curator at the Museum of Modern Art --with friendly and specific strokes. His career, loves and influences in New York City are all here: correspondence with John Ashbery about William Carlos Williams; posing nude while employed at MOMA; angry bouts with abstract painter Grace Hartigan, etc. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate. (June)
Library Journal
Gooch offers a lengthy first biography of Frank O'Hara, the New York School poet of the Fifties and Sixties who espoused the Abstract Expressionism that gave way to Pop Art. Born of a Massachusetts Irish Catholic family, O'Hara contemplated music as a career but, after serving in the navy and attending Harvard, he decided on poetry. He did graduate work at the University of Michigan, then came to New York and became a poet, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and critic for ArtNews . He assisted many avant-garde poets and painters; his multimedia outlook marks much of his poetry. This well-researched book is generously garnished both with samples of his work and his homosexual attachments and details his struggle with alcohol. Tragically, O'Hara was struck and killed by a car in 1966, at the age of 40. Recommended for general and special collections.-- Kenneth Mintz, Hoboken P.L., N.J.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062303417
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/13/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
576
Sales rank:
1,122,304
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Brad Gooch is the author of the acclaimed biographies City Poet and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, as well as other nonfiction and three novels. The recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

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