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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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Distraction and Absorption on Second Avenue

Distraction and Absorption on Second Avenue

(p.59) Distraction and Absorption on Second Avenue
Frank O'Hara Now
Andrea Brady
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines O'Hara's ‘Second Avenue’, raising questions about the nature and legacy of his writing. It suggests that O'Hara uses strategies of distraction — pulling the text, poet and reader, apart — in order to protect the autonomy of the poet and to guard against exegetical strategies which might peer below the surface of both poem and poet. O'Hara's poetic personae, dressed in aleatory costumes, perform in an illusionary theatre meant to discourage the reader from considering the poet's individuality. However, that performance can have the opposite effect, drawing attention to the autonomous artist directing proceedings from behind the curtain.

Keywords:   Frank O'Hara, poems, distraction, autonomy, poet

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