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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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The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara + Collected Poems, 1956-1987
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Product Details

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.


"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
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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4.0 out of 5 stars the virtues of shallowness Aug. 26 2002
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Pierre Style March 25 2001
This poet changed my life. This poet had style, made his own breaks (luck), had great friends because he gave a damn about them, and loved art unconditionally in any form but with a special love for the city, for the life and art and noise (music) of the city. This poet wore a tie and jacket and swiveled out the door of the Museum of Modern Art with more hip in his pocket than you, Bro. This poet was gay and and every man considered him their best friend and every woman wanted to sleep with him. This poet grew up near Boston, went to the Navy and Hafvard and spent a year in Ann Arbor but was New York all the way, the very heart and soul of New York and the New York School of poets. This poet extends the line from Keats to Rimbaud into the American future.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant writer, but his poems lack depth. Dec 17 2001
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars gives a new meaning to 'comprehensive'! June 29 1999
By A Customer
Great book! What else can be said of a book that brings together all Frank O'Hara? Great portrait on the cover too. The only problem with this marvellous book is that the cardboard cover is way too thin for practical reasons (reading, holdin' the book, putting it in your library, leaving it open somewhere since reading him is an ongoing occupation!) The cover gets dog eared soon and damages easily. A sturdier cover for a hefty volume like this please!
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