Thursday, November 29, 2012

frank o'hara

From "Personism: A Manifesto:"
I don't even like rhythm, assonance, all that stuff. You just go on your nerve. If someone's chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don't turn around and shout, "Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep."
As for measure and other technical apparatus, that's just common sense: if you're going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you. There's nothing metaphysical about it. 
Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody knows about, interests me a great deal.
I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It's a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified.... In all modesty, I confess that it may be the death of literature as we know it.
Poem ("Lana Turner has collapsed!")
Lana Turner has collapsed! 
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline 
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up
From Poetry and Poetics midterm, essay #2:
Personism takes this idea that poetry is something separate from actual lived experience and throws it out the window. Personism unites not just the poet and the poem, but the poet and the world. The world, with its crowds and sweat and messes and confusion and unknowns and habits and its connection to everyone and everything in a very real and tangible way. In O'Hara's poems you feel the crush of the crowds and the feeling of sadness and the confusion found in everyday living. You feel the world in his poems and it is very full. There are no empty meadows or quiet forests, no gossimer threads or butter-thick sunshine. There are cement sidewalks and 5 o'clock traffic, newsstands bursting with magazines and people everywhere. There is lunch at a café with a friend and a memory of a music icon. There is a person, lots of people, and there, in the middle of it all, is the poet. Eating a sandwich.

My poetry class may just be my favorite class of the whole semester.

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