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Guilty Knowledge, Guilty PleasureThe Dirty Art of Poetry$
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William Logan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166867

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166867.001.0001

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Frank O’Hara’s Shopping Bag

Frank O’Hara’s Shopping Bag

(p.197) Frank O’Hara’s Shopping Bag
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure

William Logan

Columbia University Press

This chapter reviews Selected Poems, a long-needed new selection of Frank O'Hara's poems, thoughtfully edited by Mark Ford. He has kept about two-thirds of the old selection, adding fifty or so poems and a small sheaf of the poet's rambling prose statements and reminiscences. The selection is not perfect; Ford has included a grindingly self-conscious play as well as two long poems almost unreadable now, full of campy nonsense like “whoops-musicale (sei tu m'ami) ahhahahahaha / loppy di looploop” and “le bateleur! how wonderful / I'm so so so so so so so so so so happy.”. The long poems are weakest, not because the manner was difficult to sustain but because the manner became so irritating when sustained. There may be serious intentions lodged in trivial things, but the poems often remain blissfully trivial. Still, among the shorter poems Ford has missed little of permanent value, while remaining admirably fair-minded to O'Hara's variety.

Keywords:   poetry, poets, poems, Frank O'Hara, reviews

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