What I'm Reading: Frank O'Hara

To The Harbormaster

I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks, it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

From the new Frank O'Hara, Selected Poems. This is a gorgeous book and I applaud Mark Ford's choices and presentation. Highly recommended.


Anonymous said…
That's one of my favorite photographs of Frank. Looking forward to seeing the book!
Maggie May said…
definitely want to read this, have not read any of his work though familiar with his name. wonderful, intelligent face.
i LOVE that book
I'm not familiar with this book, but need to be, Collin.

Do you know if there are any poems in it that weren't included in Collected Poems? If you remember, I blogged about "Windows," one of my favorite O'Hara poems - but it isn't in Collected because it surfaced later. Is this poem in the new Selected?
Kate Evans said…
Damn, he's so good.

BTW, did you see Joe.My.God's review of Laurie Anderson that he posted today? He includes a great video of Only an Expert.
Collin Kelley said…
Sam, "Windows" is not in this collection, but there are selections from the other work Donald Allen found and had posthumously published. Early in this collection is one of O'Hara's short plays "Try, Try", which I think was an interesting addition. Even if you own the Collected, this Selected is a must...to me anyway.
Whew. This poem is so lovely.
Peter said…
Oh yes. Thanks for this poem.
Anonymous said…
To the master Harbor

I sink: be swan too sure -
tied to reach you too

though their ship arming
coils got caught, roped

nd was ones', our vessel
codified on IT, the moor-

cocks to hens called nut
of Coll and all was fine,

always trying to depart
and deciding i am eternal
sunset storms a metallic

tide fathomless around
forms of understanding
vanity able heard here

Love Polish, rudder-hand
within a sun striking up
this tattered Hull lark

in terrible cord william
my channel's there - wind

drive against the red lip
reed of sanities are not

all behind us yet, our tru-
st. of sanity voicing you
too well spoken, reasonable

swearing voices wave, answer
that kept from reach, you
tunes a New frank O'Hara air-

poome highly flawed lunch poe-
ms. textually gorgeous appall

editorial lauding a choice
of ark: affordable present;y
stationed metro, in polite,

highly talented mister frank
routing to ley lines too U
Staten island frankly, does

not uncle Eddie, english, a
new yorkshire buggy, of SP..



Caoimhghín Deasmhuman
gra agus siochainn, F
Collin Kelley said…
Um, like, what was that by anonymous, Coll?
Pris said…
I love this poem! What else can I say?? Thanks for posting it. I'll now go off and quietly shred all of my own poems:-)
Thanks, pal, that was a treat!

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