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The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara [Paperback]

Frank O'Hara , Donald Allen , John Ashbery
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 31 1995
Available for the first time in paperback, The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara reflects the poet's growth as an artist from the earliest dazzling, experimental verses that he began writing in the late 1940s to the years before his accidental death at forty, when his poems became increasingly individual and reflective.

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Product Description

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.

Review

"Slangy and sharp, genially surreal, the work of the quintessential New York poet shines like polished granite." -- Entertainment Weekly

"[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

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is one of the indispensable titles in American literature. By turns lyrical and conversational, O'Hara's poems have the beauty of perfect stones and polished driftwood. That's the best I can do to describe this work, and it doesn't even come close. It would be more prudent to say, maybe, that the world would be a far better place if there were more people in it with O'Hara's eye for wit and ear for beauty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Feb. 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
His work is bold and yet still accessible to all poetry fans. This collection is amazing and a true must.
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5.0 out of 5 stars essential! Dec 31 2003
Format:Paperback
I dare you to flip through this book and not be deeply affected. His poetry is immediate,honest, and completely transparent. Rare is it that emotion is so cleanly displayed, and so easily understandable. I have little patience for most poetry after reading this collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the virtues of shallowness Aug. 27 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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3.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant writer, but his poems lack depth. Dec 17 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
O'Hara was a brilliant poet who seemingly had nothing to write about. His language is incredibly imaginative, and his productivity was astounding. But in the end the vast majority of his poems were little more than frivolous ditties about his friends and the artsy scene around New York City. It's almost a shame that with his amazing talents O'Hara didn't live in a somewhat more challenging set of circumstances - it would have been interesting to hear what he had to say. But reading his poems is like reading the work of an incredibly gifted, yet ultimately vacuous, artist.
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