A really readable and fascinating account of Frank O Hara s life. A biography that makes me want to return to all O Hara s poems to see what I missed the first few times A biography that makes this pilf prove there was a lot of baggage attached to him the poems do not suggest Catholicism and self image issues as causes A biography that respects but does not canonize its subject, especially on the topic of his lovers and open gay love poetry, which according to this biographer is incidental than purposeful or political or radical maybe the best kind of reason A biography that name drops and makes O Hara s end seem inevitable ugh but does a fine job evoking an O Hara world I would have liked to have seen one of his curated MoMA exhibits. Best Book, City Poet The Life And Times Of Frank O Hara By Brad Gooch This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book City Poet The Life And Times Of Frank O Hara, Essay By Brad Gooch Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You As with any biography, there is a struggle between exhaustive details and some sort of narrative drive This book has a few chapters where it seems to be endless lists of who Frank knew, who he slept with, and who invited him for a weekend in the Hamptons, but it also has really great chapters looking at how the person he was sleeping with inspired him to write this amazing series of poems or that one seminal gorgeous piece Gooch clearly seems to have spoken with every single person who ever knew Frank and who is still alive, and to have gone through any writing he could find by or about him The fact that he s able to distill all of this research into such a readable book is amazing And the poetry shines through There are ample examples from longer poems and many of the shorter poems are presented in their entirety. Although I am unable to appreciate Abstract Surrrealism, including most of the poems and artwork featured in this biography, I thought the book was excellent And I was delighted to finally meet the wonder that was Frank O Hara His ridiculously premature death was a tremendous loss, wish I could have seem this kinetic, way ahead of his time wonder. Biographies being what they are its hard to avoid a certain dishy, gossipy tendency, and even so when the subject is one of the world champion gossips That gossipy tone became pronounced toward the end of the book, but the middle section is actually pretty detailed in terms of sourcing the poems and showing how O Hara worked Worth the time if you re a serious Frank freak. 5 stars for frank ohara 4 stars for brad gooch s bio of frank ohara well worth the read I hesitate to say unflinching bc there were parts where i flinched, but does paint a seemingly unbiased portrait of oharas life and made me really wanna peek at nyc 50 s art world for a week or so don t know if i could handle much i would recommend to anybody who even kindve likes frank ohara It s safe to say I m on a major Frank O Hara kick, and I preferred this to Joe LeSueur s memoir, although I don t think it beats Gooch s biography of Flannery O Connor Regardless, better understanding O Hara s work in the context of his life should only make reading his poems that much enjoyable. Frank O Hara was an almost savant level talent a whipsmart, intense, deeply flawed, fascinating bon vivant and a real piece of work, as it turns out This exhaustively detailed biography is elegantly, skillfully written always interesting and evocative The circle of legendary friends O Hara surrounded himself with William DeKooning Diane DiPrima Alan Ginsberg is remarkable in itself, yet O Hara is one of those individuals who contained multitudes, a subject deserving of a biography if ever there was one And those poems he wrote There s a lot of them to be found in here, but not my favorite, a 1950 work called Animals I ll post it right here and now, it s so great Have you forgotten what we were like then when we were still first rate and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth it s no use worrying about Time but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves and turned some sharp corners the whole pasture looked like our meal we didn t need speedometers we could manage cocktails out of ice and water I wouldn t want to be faster or greener than now if you were with me O you were the best of all my daysAnyway, if you like Frank O Hara want to know about him, this is a fine book, indeed. I do this I do that Like its subject, the book is gossipy and insightful While I can t yet say how much reading this biography has increased or lessened my admiration for O Hara, I certainly feel as if I know him better O Hara s mileu is well drawn post war New York, second generation Ab Ex and the Pop rebellion that ultimately overthrew it are captured in portraits that deftly render the vitality of its participants It is a world with an insatiable appetite for all forms of art and O Hara throws himself headfirst into it I wonder how seriously he is taken today as an art critic His love affairs are portrayed in all of their passionate confusion eroticization of the oppressor Gooch is better in locating the sources of many instances in O Hara s poetry than in interpreting it, however, I now understand that the poetry that I like best is the work that commences with To James Dean As a measure of shifting social attitudes, it is amazing to hear participants interviewed in the late 80 s early 90 s discussing with candour and openness that for which they would have been arrested less than 40 years earlier.
Brad Gooch is the author of Flannery A Life of Flannery O Connor Little, Brown, 2009 His previous books include City Poet The Life and Times of Frank O Hara as well as Godtalk Travels in Spiritual America three novels Scary Kisses, The Golden Age of Promiscuity, Zombie00 a collection of stories, Jailbait and Other Stories, chosen by Donald Barthelme for a Pushcart Foundation Writer s Cho
- 532 pages
- City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara
- Brad Gooch
- 10 July 2019 Brad Gooch