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Selected Poems.

Selected Poems

by Frank O'Hara; edited by Mark Ford Knopf. 288 pages, $30.

If Frank O'Hara were still among the quick, he would be 82 years old--four years younger than Nanci Ray Gun. Alas, Frank left his mortal coil in 1966, after a completely freakish late-night automotive accident on Fire Island--struck by a teenaged dune-buggy driver on the beach. O'Hara was hospitalized in the city but died shortly after the incident. Stuart Byron, a writer for the Village Voice, once noted that after O'Hara's death "Manhattan was full of widows." This new selection of O'Hara's poetry ranges over his entire career and includes his dramatic works. It's always a joy when O'Hara is published. Gore Vidal once said that it's easy to get famous in America--this may not be as true today as it was when Gore made the comment, and certainly not for the poets--but Gore also noted that it's even harder to stay famous in America. Frank O'Hara's reputation has proved to be enduring. His work is now anchored in the American pantheon. His voice is always fresh and original--a strong postwar presence in a tradition inspired by French surrealism, American vernacular, pop culture and gay male camp. Others worked at it too, but O'Hara gets the brass ring.
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Author:Mitzel, John
Publication:The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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