Boyfriends aside, he finds a thousand things to like. Ballet dancers fly through his verse. Taxi drivers tell him funny things. Zinka Milanov sings, the fountains splash. The city honks at him and he honks back. This willingness to be happy is one of the things for which O'Hara is most loved, and rightly so. It is a fundamental aspect of his moral life, and the motor of his poetry. Even Ward, whose book is a poststructuralist study, offering us the unlooked-for experience of seeing O'Hara analyzed in relation to polysemy, differential valorization, and French gyno-criticism, finally throws up his hands. "The poetry of Frank O'Hara has an incomparable warmth and humanity," he exclaims. "It is only through such poetry that people in the future will think that life in New York City in the fifties and sixties must have been good." Ward is a professor at the University of Liverpool. I hope he has tenure. This is not the way a poststructuralist analysis is supposed to end.
--Joan Acocella, Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints

1 comment:

SAM said...

I love reading about literary figures and realizing that I like them EVEN MORE after learning about them as human beings. It happens so rarely. Literary figures tend to be dicks.