Sunday, April 13, 2008

BillyBlog's Favorite Poems, #18 ("Poem" by Frank O'Hara)

Frank O'Hara was one of the great figures in The New York School of Poets. His poems are beautiful snapshots, laced with humor and lined with passion.

Much of O'Hara's poetry is set in the landscape of New York City. He was famous for writing numerous "untitled" poems, while on his lunch breaks during his tenure as a crurator at the Museum of Modern Art. We are left with wonderful moments in time, many of which are untitled. His wonderful poem "The Day Lady Died" (click link to read and also to hear Philip Levine read the poem) is a shining example of this.

I could choose from many of his works as among my favorites, but I have selected this one:


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

Listen: "Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed!)" (m4a) Read by Frank O'Hara.

A production note: I have also added the audio of Hal Sirowitz and Randall Jarrell reading their poems below. Click links to listen.

Previous Favorite Poems for National Poetry Month:

#19 - "Crumbs" by Hal Sirowitz (Audio Added)
#20 - "This Is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams
#21 - "They Feed They Lion" by Philip Levine
#22 - "Looking at Kilauea" by Garret Hongo
#23 - "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Randall Jarrell (Audio Added)
#24 - A Handful of Richard Brautigan
#25 - "A Buddha in the Woodpile" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
#26 - "Separation" by W.S. Merwin
#27 - "The Flea" by John Donne
#28 - Poem Twenty from Pablo Neruda's Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
#29 - "Magpie's Song" by Gary Snyder
#30 - "Eunoia" by Christian Bok

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