Catalogue


The selected poems of Frank O'Hara.
Edited by Donald Allen.
imprint
New York: Vintage Books, [1974]
description
xiv, 233 p.; 21 cm.
ISBN
0394719735:
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York: Vintage Books, [1974]
isbn
0394719735:
catalogue key
1135352
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
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 orLe BalconorLes Negres of Genet, but I don't, I stick with Verlaine after practically going to sleep with quandariness and for Mike I just stroll into 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, Irun, 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 thePolish Rideroccasionally 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 theNude Descending a Staircaseor 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 t
First Chapter
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 stroll into 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


From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Selected Poems by Frank O'Hara
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
New York Times Book Review, June 2008
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
Guardian UK, March 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The overall arrangement of the poems is chronological. There is a brief chronology of O'Hara's short life and an index of titles.
Unpaid Annotation
The overall arrangement of the poems is chronological. There is a brief chronology of O'Hara's short life & an index of titles.

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