Why I am Not a Painter and Other Poems (Paperback)
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Short Description for Why I am Not a Painter and Other Poems Frank O'Hara composed poems "any time, any place", collaborating with artists, dancers, musicians and poets. The city was a place of endless possibility, and he captured the pace and rhythms, the quandaries and exhilarations of city life. This selection of his work is edited by Mark Ford.
- Published: 28 April 2003
- Format: Paperback 96 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781857546880 ISBN 10: 1857546881
- Sales rank: 328,275
Reviews for Why I am Not a Painter and Other Poems
- Staff review
Why I Am Not a Painter and Other Poems
Mark Ford's useful introduction to his selection of this "nearly Beat" describes John O'Hara's often hastily penned work as "immediate, nervously alert, mercurial". This gets O'Hara down pretty well. Ford echoes the poet John Ashberry in half-admitting that the power of O'Hara's arguably sometimes quite slight work (what Ashberry called an "unrevised work-in-progress") tends to arise cumulatively. This is neither the serious (and often quite dry) poetry so beloved by the American New Critics and nor was O'Hara actually fully part of the Ginsberg crowd. If any collective could be said to contain O'Hara it was the so-called New York School (a term coined by gallery owner John Bernard Myers).
Although lighter in weight than some might find palatable, O'Hara himself saw his work as part of a valid artistic tradition against the mainstream. "I dress in oil cloth and read music / by Guillaume Apollinaire's clay candelabra" and we sense that O'Hara is doing a lot more than simply name-dropping. Other artists - especially visual artists as the title poem shows - were an important source of inspiration for O'Hara. And it is obvious that for O'Hara the Abstract Expressionists served as example and inspiration: Memorial Day 1950, paean as it is to many greats (including Gertrude Stein, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Boris Pasternak), starts by reminding us that art - and inspiration via art - is not separable from the real: "Picasso made me tough and quick" he says, "and the world." And the world, the real, is never far away in these poems. Poetry, says O'Hara, "is as useful as a machine!" by Mark Thwaite