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Frank O'Hara NowNew Essays on the New York Poet$
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Robert Hampson and Will Montgomery

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312311

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316067

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‘A Gasp of Laughter at Desire’: Frank O'hara's Poetics of Breath

‘A Gasp of Laughter at Desire’: Frank O'hara's Poetics of Breath

(p.144) ‘A Gasp of Laughter at Desire’: Frank O'hara's Poetics of Breath
Frank O'Hara Now
Josh Robinson
Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that there is a particular way in which O'Hara's poetic texts relate to breath and voicing, and that laughter is an important aspect of this. It examines how breath is configured and performed, both in the poetic voice and in the readerly response. It advances two hypotheses on the experience of reading. The first and weaker of the two is that there is a connection between the physical activity that constitutes laughter — particularly the muscular contractions as one breathes in a particular way — and the affective state with which we associate it. The second and stronger hypothesis is that breathing in particular ways can induce particular affective states.

Keywords:   Frank O'Hara, poetics, breath, voicing, laughter, reading, breathing

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