Frank O'Hara: Selected Poems

Frank O'Hara: Selected Poems



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307268150
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/26/2008
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.69(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mark Ford has published several volumes of poetry and is the author of the critical biography Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and London Review of Books; he teaches in the English department at University College London.

Read an Excerpt

My Heart

I’m not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.
I’d have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says “That’s
not like Frank!,” all to the good! I
don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart–
you can’t plan on my heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

The Day Lady Died

It is 12:20 in New York, a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just strollinto the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

Having a Coke With You

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Traversa de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

Table of Contents

A Note on the Texts

Autobiographia Literaria
Poem (At Night Chinamen Jump)
Poem (The Eager Note on My Door Said “Call Me,)
Memorial Day 1950
Les Étiquettes Jaunes
A Pleasant Thought from Whitehead
The Three-Penny Opera
An Image of Leda
Poem (If I Knew Exactly Why the Chestnut Tree)
The Critic
Song (I’m Going to New York!)
A Rant
Interior (With Jane)
A Party Full of Friends
A Terrestrial Cuckoo
To Dick
Commercial Variations
Chez Jane
Walking to Work
Try! Try!
On Rachmaninoff’s Birthday (Quick! A Last Poem Before I Go)
To My Dead Father
The Hunter
Grand Central
To a Poet
Aus Einem April
On Rachmaninoff’s Birthday (I Am So Glad that Larry Rivers Made a)
Epigram for Joe
Meditations in an Emergency
To the Mountains in New York
In the Movies
To John Ashbery
For Grace, After a Party
Poem (I Watched an Armory Combing Its Bronze Bricks)
Poem (There I Could Never Be a Boy,)
To the Harbormaster
Une Journée de Juillet
At the Old Place
Poem (Johnny And Alvin Are Going Home, Are Sleeping Now)
To an Actor Who Died
Thinking of James Dean
My Heart
To The Film Industry in Crisis
On Seeing Larry Rivers’ WASHINGTON CROSSING THE DELAWARE at the Museum of Modern Art
Sleeping on the Wing
Joseph Cornell
[It Is 1:55 in Cambridge, Pale and Spring Cool,]
Poem (And Tomorrow Morning at 8 O’clock in Springfield, Massachusetts,)
Poem (Instant Coffee With Slightly Sour Cream)
In Memory of My Feelings
[And Leaving in a Great Smoky Fury]
A Step Away From Them
Digression on NUMBER 1, 1948
[It Seems Far Away and Gentle Now]
Why I Am Not a Painter
Poem Read at Joan Mitchell’s
John Button Birthday
Failures of Spring
Two Dreams of Waking
Ode to Joy
Ode to Willem De Kooning
Poem (I Live Above a Dyke Bar and I’m Happy.)
Ode To Michael Goldberg (’s Birth and Other Births)
Ode (To Joseph Lesueur) on the Arrow that Flieth by Day
Ode on Causality
Ode: Salute to the French Negro Poets
A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island
To Gottfried Benn
Heroic Sculpture
The “Unfinished”
The Day Lady Died
Song (Is It Dirty)
Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and Jean-Paul
Joe’s Jacket
You Are Gorgeous and I’m Coming
Poem (The Fluorescent Tubing Burns Like a Bobby-Soxer’s Ankles)
“L’amour Avait Passé par Là”
Poem (Hate Is Only One of Many Responses)
Poem (I Don’t Know as I Get What D. H. Lawrence Is Driving at)
Personal Poem
Post the Lake Poets Ballad
Kein Traum
Poem (Khrushchev Is Coming on the Right Day!)
Getting Up Ahead of Someone (Sun)
In Favor of One’s Time
Les Luths
Poem (Now the Violets Are All Gone, the Rhinoceroses, the Cymbals)
Poem (Light Clarity Avocado Salad in the Morning)
Hôtel Transylvanie
[On the Vast Highway]
Poem (That’s Not a Cross Look It’s a Sign of Life)
Avenue A
Now That I Am in Madrid and Can Think
A Little Travel Diary
Beer for Breakfast
Having a Coke with You
Ave Maria
Fond Sonore
[The Fondest Dream of]
For the Chinese New Year & for Bill Berkson
Essay on Style
Vincent and I Inaugurate a Movie Theatre
Early on Sunday
St. Paul and All That
F. (Missive & Walk) I. # 53
Poem En Forme De Saw
Metaphysical Poem
Biotherm (For Bill Berkson)
Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed!)
First Dances
Answer To Voznesensky & Evtushenko
Again, John Keats, Or the Pot of Basil
[The Light Presses Down]
Poem (I to You and You to Me The Endless Oceans of)
Little Elegy for Antonio Machado

Appendix: Prose
Personism: A Manifesto
[Statement For Paterson Society]
V. R. Lang: A Memoir
A Personal Preface
Larry Rivers: A Memoir

Short Chronology
Index of Titles

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Frank O'Hara: Poems From the Ribor de Nagy Editions, 1952-1966 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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