Frank O'Hara's poetry evokes a specific era and location: New York in the 1950s and early 1960s. This is a pre-computer age of typewritten manuscripts, small shops, shoeshines, and lunch hours: it is also an age of gay repression, accelerating consumerism, and race riots. But the poetry dislocates this cityscape into a postmodern landscape that is discontinuous, highly volatile, and constantly changing. This landscape anticipates the world of multinational companies, hypermedia, and polymorphous sexual and racial identities we live in now. This book argues that this location and dislocation of the cityscape creates hyperscapes in the poetry of O'Hara. The hyperscape is a postmodern site characterised by difference: it breaks down unified concepts of text, city, subject, and art, and remoulds them into new textual, subjective, and political spaces. This book theorises the process of disruption and refiguration that constitutes the hyperscape, and celebrates its radicality. This chapter presents an overview of those that follow.
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