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The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara Paperback – March 31, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This first paperback edition charts the writer's career from his New York School poetry of the early 1940s until his untimely death in 1966.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"During the halcyon days of the Abstract Expressionist and Imaginative Realism movements, Frank O'Hara was the laureate of the New York art scene. . . . A Pan piping on city streets, he luxuriates in the uninhibited play of his imagination." -- Herbert A. Leibowitz, New York Yimes Book Review

"[Frank O'Hara's] work seems to me to represent the last stage in the adaptation of twentieth-century avant-garde sensibility to poetry about contemporary American experience. In its music and its language and in its conception of the relation of poetry to the rest of life, it is a poetry which has already changed poets and others, and which promises to go on moving and changing them for a long time to come." -- Kenneth Koch, The New Republic

An 18th Century Letter
2 Poems From The Ohara Monogatari
3 Poems About Kenneth Koch
3 Requiems For A Young Uncle
34 Mile Wind
3rd Avenue El
An Abortion
About Courbet
Adieu To Norman, Bon Jour To Joan And Jean-paul
Adventures In Living
After Wyatt
The Afternoon
Again, John Keats, Or The Post Of Basil
An Airplane Whistle (after Heine)
All That Gas
Ann Arbor Variations
Answer To Voznesensky & Evtushenko
The Anthology Of Lonely Days
The Apricot Season
The Arboretum
The Argonauts
As Planned
Ashes On Saturday Afternoon
At Joan's
At Kamin's Dance Bookshop
At The Bottom Of The Dump There's Ome Sort Of Bugle
At The Old Place
Aus Einem April
Autobiographia Literaria
Ave Maria
Avenue A
Ballade Number 4
The Bathers
Beach Party
Beer For Breakfast
Bill's Burnoose
Bill's School Of New York
Biographia Letteraria
Biotherm (for Bill Berkson)
The Bird Cage Theatre
Blue Territory
The Bores
A Camera
Captain Bada
Captains Courageous
Causerie De A.f.
A Chardin In Need Of Cleaning
Chez Jane
A Chinese Legend
Choses Passageres
Christmas Card To Grace Hartigan
A City Winter
The Clouds Go Soft
The Clown
Colloque Sentimental
Commercial Variations
Concert Champetre
The Critic
Crow Hill
Dances Before The Wall
Day And Night In 1952
The Day Lady Died
Dear Jap
Derange Sur Un Pont De L'adour
Digression On Number L, 1948
Dolce Colloquio
Dream Of Berlin
Drifts Of A Thing That Bill Berkson Noticed
The Drummer
Ducal Days
Early Mondrian
Early On Sunday
East River
Edwin's Hand
Elegy (ecstatic And In Anguish Over Lost Days)
Elegy (salt Water. And Faces Dying)
Embarassing Bill
Enemy Planes Approaching
Essay On Style
F. (missive & Walk) I. #53
F.m.i. 6/25/61
F.y.i. (prix De Beaute)
F.y.i. (the Brasserie Goes To The Lake)
Failures Of Spring
Fantasia (on Russian Verses) For Alfred Leslie
Far From The Porte Des Lilas And The Rue Pergolese
Favorite Painting In The Metropolitan
Female Torso
First Dances
Five Poems
Flag Day
Fond Sonore
For A Dolphin
For Bob Rauschenberg
For David Schubert
For Grace, After A Party
For James Dean
For Janice And Kenneth To Voyage
For Poulenc
For The Chinese New Year & For Bill Berkson
Four Little Elegies 1. Written In The Sand At Water Island
Four Little Elegies 2. Little Elegy
Four Little Elegies 3. Orbit Dean, September 30, 1955
Four Little Elegies 4. A Ceremony For One Of My Dead
Getting Up Ahead Of Someone (sun)
Glazunoviana, Or Memorial Day
Gli Amanti
Good Friday Noon
Goodbye To Great Spruce Head Island
Grand Central
The Green Hornet
Gregory Corso: Gasoline
Having A Coke With You
Here In New York We Are Having A Lot Of Trouble With The
Hieronymus Bosch
A Hill
Historical Variations
A Homage
Homage To Andre Gide
Homage To Pasternak's Cape Mootch
Homage To Rrose Selavy
Hotel Particulier
Hotel Transylvanie
How Roses Get Black
How To Get There
The Hunter
Hunting Horns
I Love The Way It Goes
An Image Of Leda
Image Of The Buddha Preaching
In Favor Of One's Time
In Hospital
In Memory Of My Feelings; To Grace Hartigan
In The Movies
Interior (with Jane)
It Seems Far Away And Gentle Now
The Jade Madonna
Jane At Twelve
Jane Awake
Jane Bathing
Je Voudrais Voir
Joe's Jacket
John Button Birthday
Joseph Cornell
L'amour Avait Passe Par La
The Lay Of The Romance Of The Associations
Leafing Through Florida
Les Etiquettes Jaunes
Les Luths
Let's Get Out
A Letter To Bunny
Life On Earth
The Light Comes On By Itself
The Light Presses Down
Lines During Certain Pieces Of Music
Lines For The Fortune Cookies
Lines To A Depressed Friend
Lines While Reading Coleridge's The Picture
Lines Written In A Raw Youth
Lisztiana, Much Later
Little Elegy For Antonio Machado
A Little Travel Diary
Love (to Be Lost)
The Lover
The Lunch Hour
Madrigal For A Dead Cat Named Julia
Mary Desti's Ass
Maundy Saturday
Meditations In An Emergency
Melancholy Breakfast
Melmoth The Wanderer
Memoir Of Sergei O
Memories Of Bill
Metaphysical Poem
A Mexican Guitar
Military Cemetery
A Modern Soldier
The Mother Of German Drama
Mountain Climbing
Mozart Chemisier
Mrs. Bertha Burger
The Muse Considered As A Demon Lover
Muy Bien
My Heart
My Heat
New Particles From The Sun
The Next Bird To Australia
Night Thoughts In Greenwich Village
A Note To Harold Fondren
A Note To John Ashbery
Now That I Am In Madrid And Can Think
October 26 1952 10:30 O'clock
Ode (an Idea Of Justice May Be Precious)
Ode (to Joseph Lesueur) On The Arrow That Flieth By Day
Ode On Causality
Ode On Lust
Ode On Necrophilia
Ode On Saint Cecilia's Day
Ode To Joy
Ode To Michael Goldberg ('s Birth And Other Births)
Ode To Tanaquil Leclercq
Ode To Willem De Kooning
Ode: Salute To The French Negro Poets
The Old Machinist
Olive Garden
On A Birthday Of Kenneth's
On A Mountain
On A Pasage In Beckett's Watt & About Geo. Montgomery
On Looking At La Grande Jatte, The Czar Wept Anew
On Rachmaninoff's Birthday
On Rachmaninoff's Birthday #158
On Rachmaninoff's Birthday #161
On Rachmaninoff's Birthday (blue Windows, Blue Rooftops)
On Rachmaninoff's Birthday (i Am So Glad That Larry Rivers)
On Rachmaninoff's Birthday (quick! A Last Poem Before I Go)
On Rachmannoff's Brithday & About Arshile Gorky
On Saint Adalgisa's Day
On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing The Delaware At The Museum
On The Way To The San Remo
The Opera
Oranges: 12 Pastorals
Original Sin
Overlooking The River
Panic Fear
A Pastoral Dialogue
A Pastoral Dialogue
Pearl Harbor
Personal Poem
Petit Poeme En Prose
The Pipes Of Pan
Pistachio Tree At Chateau Noir
Places For Oscar Salvador
A Pleasant Thought From Whitehead
Poem (at Night Chinamen Jump)
Poem At The Top Of The Rung
Poem (all Of A Sudden All The World)
Poem (although I Am A Half Hour)
Poem (as You Kneel)
Poem (dee Dum, Dee Dum, Dum Dum, Dee Da)
Poem (god! Love! Sun! All Dear And Singular Things!)
Poem (he Can Rest. He Has Blessed Him And Hurt Him)
Poem (he Sighted Her At The Moment Of Recall)
Poem (i Am Not Sure There Is A Cure)
Poem (i Don't Know As I Get What D. H. Lawrence Is Driving A
Poem (i Live Above A Dyke Bar And I'm Happy)
Poem (i Will Always Love You)
Poem (if I Knew Exactly Why The Chestnut Tree)
Poem (it Was Snowing And Now)
Poem (ivy Invades The Statue)
Poem (johnny And Alvin Are Going Home, Are Sleeping Now)
Poem (khrushchev Is Coming On The Right Day)
Poem (now It Is Light, Now It Is The Calm)
Poem (pawing The Mound With His Hairy Legs)
Poem (signed The Seeing Eye)
Poem (some Days I Feel That I Exude A Fine Dust)
Poem (tempestuous Breaths! We Watch A Girl)
Poem (the Clouds Ache Bleakly)
Poem (the Distinguished)
Poem (the Eyelid Has Its Storms. There Is The Opaque Fish-)
Poem (the Flies Are Getting Slower Now)
Poem (the Hosts Of Dreams And Their Impoverished Minions)
Poem (the Little Roses, The Black Majestic Sails)
Poem (the Stars Are Tighter)
Poem (there I Could Never Be A Boy)
Poem (today The Mail Didn't Come)
Poem (whe Ewhee)
Poem (wouldn't It Be Funny)
A Poem About Russia
Poem En Forme De Saw
Poem For A Painter
A Poem In Envy Of Cavalcanti
Poem In January
Poem In Two Parts
Poem Read At Joan Mitchell's
Poem V (f) W
The Poet In The Attic
Political Poem On A Last Line Of Pasternak's
Portrait Of Grace
Post The Lake Poets Ballad
A Postcard From John Ashbery
A Prayer To Prospero
A Proud Poem
Qu'est-ce Que De Nous!
A Quiet Room
A Rant
Rent Collecting
Rogers In Italy
Romanze, Or The Music Students
Round Robin
The Satyr
A Scene
Second Avenue; In Memory Of Vladimir Mayakovsky
The Sentimental Units
September 14, 1959 (moon)
Seven Nine Seven
The Shoe Shine Boy
A Short History Of Bill Berkson
Should We Legalize Abortion
Sleeping On The Wing
Snapshot For Boris Pasternak
Sneden's Landing Variations
Song (did You See Me Walking By The Buick Repairs)
Song For Lotta
Song Of Ending
Sonnet (lampooning Blizzards, How Your Ocularies)
Sonnet (the Blueness Of The Hour)
A Sonnet For Jane Freilicher
Sonnet For Larry Rivers & His Sister
Sonnet On A Wedding
Southampton Variations
The Spirit Ink
The Spoils Of Grafton
Spring's First Day
Spring's First Day
St. Paul And All That
Stag Club
The Starving Poet
The State Of Washington
A Step Away From Them
Study For Women On A Beach
Sudden Snow
Summer Breezes
Thinking Of James Dean
Those Who Are Dreaming, A Play About St. Paul
Three Airs
Three Poems
Three Rondels
The Three-penny Opera
To A Friend
To A Poet
To An Actor Who Died
To Canada (for Washington's Birthday)
To Edwin Denby
To Gianni Bates
To Gottfired Benn
To Hell With It
To Jane, Some Air
To Jane; And In Imitation Of Coleridge
To John Ashbery
To John Wieners
To Larry Rivers
To Maxine
To Music Of Paul Bowles
To My Dead Father
To My Mother
To Richard Miller
To The Film Industry In Crisis
To The Harbormaster
To The Mountains In New York
To The Poem
To You
The Tomb Of Arnold Schoenberg
Tonight At The Versailles, Or Another Card Another Cabaret
A True Account Of Talking To The Sun At Fire Island
Trying To Figure Out What You Feel
Two Boys
Two Dreams Of Waking
Two Epitaphs
Two Russian Exiles: An Ode
Two Shepherds, A Novel
Two Tragic Poems
Two Variations
The Unfinished
V.r. Lang
Variations On Pasternak's Main Liebchen
Variations On Saturday
Variations On The Tree Of Heaven
Very Rainy Light, An Eclogue
Vincent And I Inaugurate A Movie Theatre
Vincent, (2)
A Walk On Sunday Afternoon
Walking To Work
Walking With Larry Rivers
A Warm Day For December
Washington Square
Weather Near St. Bridget's Steeples
What Appears To Be Yours
A Whitman's Birthday Broadcast With Static
Who Is William Walton
Why I Am Not A Painter
With Barbara At Larres
With Barbara Guest In Paris
Yesterday Down At The Canal
Yet Another Fan
You Are Gorgeous And I'm Coming
You At The Pump
The Young Christ
A Young Poet
[i Kiss Your Cup]
[july Is Over And There's Very Little Trace]
[then The Weather Changed.]
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 586 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520201663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520201668
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966) was one of the most original and influential American poets of the twentieth century. Although he grew up in Grafton, Massachusetts, O'Hara developed into the quintessential poet of mid-century Manhattan; soon after his arrival in New York in 1951 he evolved a new kind of urban poetry that brilliantly captures the heady excitements of a golden period in the city's artistic life. O'Hara's style exudes an insistent, seductive glamour; his mercurial poems, at once open-ended and startlingly immediate, radiate an insouciant confidence that has lost none of its freshness over the decades. O'Hara was at the heart of a vibrant artistic circle that embraced fellow New York School poets John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler, as well as experimental painters such as Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Jasper Johns. Their achievements are movingly celebrated in many of his poems, while at the same time he paid loving tribute to popular idols such as James Dean and Lana Turner.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By CK Dexter Haven on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
For those less famililar with O'Hara there is only one place to start: City Lights' superb little pocket collection, "Lunch Poems."

This collection is enormous, and much of it--especially the early work--is not stylistically representative of his best and most well-known work. It is also dreadfully organized. The poems are not presented by date of publication or date written. Nor do the poems include either date. That information is in a separate index--organized, infuriatingly, by date. So unless you've memorized the year of each of the thousands of poems in this 600 page book, it's not terribly useful. I do hope this book is re-edited substantially for future publication. In the meantime, it will have to do.

At his best, Frank O'Hara's poems are wonderfully accessible, sparklingly natural, delightful, and have the ability to delicately carve out a perfectly captured nanosecond of living breathing space and time with insight and sincerity.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ken grace on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
An earlier reviewer describes O'Hara's poetry as shallow and vacuous. Shallow, maybe. But not vacuous. O'Hara's interested in the minutiae of daily life - buying a pack of Gauloises on the way to friends for dinner, seeing a headline about Lana Turner collapsing, the hard hats worn by construction workers. Read one poem and you might come away thinking it's trivial. But his life's work - taken as a whole - is an intelligent, alert, funny and perceptive record of a life lived to the full (I think someone else may have said that before me, somewhere). Thing is, O'Hara's interested in surfaces - things, events, trivia - because they have meaning. So his poetry is shallow in a very real and virtuous sense. He's not trying to make big statements, a la Charles Olson or Robert Lowell. What I find amazing is how moving his poetry can so often be, as in The Day Lady Died. On one reading, it's simply a list of things he does on the way to friends for dinner. But the impact is enormous. The poem gets you right up close to O'Hara as he learns of Billie Holiday's death and remembers hearing her sing. Nothing vacuous about that.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By delft_tile on April 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
When the critical dust really settles, I think O'Hara will be seen as a crucial American poet -- in the ranks of Whitman, Dickinson and Stevens. Cultured, perceptive, meaningful, playful, and always funny, he took American poetry light-years beyond the "well-made" poets of the midcentury, and the tormented stylings of the 'confessionals' (Lowell, Plath, Berryman et al.)

He introduced a new kind of literary voice into serious poetry: highly personal, specific, catty, generous, vivid and oddly friendly, with an unpretentious humor, and a sense of physical placement, that were often almost mystical. (See "A Step Away from Them.") He showed that you didn't have to be 'heavy' to be profound. In the process, this added an entirely new dimension to serious American writing, the effects of which are still only starting to be understood -- and not just in poetry, but in other forms, too.

Frank could do it all: existential crisis ("1951," "Adieu to Norman..."); artistic meditation ("Ode on Causality"); high erotic comedy ("To the Film Industry in Crisis," "Ave Maria," and the minor, but inspired, "The Lay of the Romance of the Associations"); and poignant confusion ("Getting Up Ahead of Someone (Sun)". And this is not listing the famous "I-do-this-I-do-that" poems, or the transcendent "A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island".

(One caveat for newcomers to this work: the book was compiled and edited by Donald Allen after Frank's sudden death. Mr. Allen scrupulously, and wisely, chose to include all of the materials he found, not making any editorial judgements about quality. But the fact is that O'Hara was an uneven writer, and about 20% of these poems are, well, pretty bad. You just have to exercise some caution, and avoid making snap judgements.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jack_Hughes on October 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here's an idea for Ph.D. candidates in American Lit, searching for that breakthrough dissertation topic: Frank O'Hara was the (almost-literal) bridge between, on the one hand, the high aethestic seriousness that began in English with Wilde, and culminated in early Modernists like Hart Crane, Eliot and Wallace Stevens; and on the other, what we might call the pan-aesthetic, media-saturated 'hyper-culture' of serious early 21st-century thought, which is equally at ease in poetry, movies, pop music, foreign cultures, the avant-garde, and cartoons -- and blurs the barriers between all of them.

Frank did it first, in case you were wondering. He was as funny as Wilde and as dead-serious as Stevens, plus as silly as a Tarzan movie (which he loved). A hard set of balls to juggle, but juggle them he did, and brilliantly.

For those who think this poetry is too 'casual' to be ranked as first-class, consider the following: Frank was arguably the most cultured man in America in his generation. An art curator, skilled classical pianist, Harvard grad and Navy veteran, fluent in several languages, he basically had all of English and French poetry saved to hard disk in his brain, as well as the last 400 years of Western painting and music. It's almost silly to think about. All of this material forms the background for his impressionistic, seemingly-flip meditations on rainy days, radios, painting, blueberry blintzes, Khrushchev, and love in all its manifold forms. But he's actually built a kind of socio-artistic City with this stuff: read one way, the Collected Poems is the autobiography of a culture at one of its critical historical moments (it's also the autobiography of an individual, and the autobiography of New York.
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