The only way to be quiet / is to be quick

Timely: The New Yorker published an article about Frank O’Hara’s “Selected Poems” (which I mentioned in the last entry).

His poems, so full of names and places and events, are exquisite ledgers for the tallying of reality. They all attempt to move the vital but fleeting items in Column A—sandwiches and torsos, lunch hours and late nights—into Column B, where works of art stand, “strong as rocks,” against the ravages of mortality. The attempt to move people from Column A to Column B is called “elegy,” and, while every poet tries it, few have done so with the illusion of real-time improvisation that makes O’Hara’s poems so risky and so satisfying.


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