Saturday, April 5, 2014

5 of 30: "Poem" by Frank O'Hara

"The next poem's called 'Poem,'" Frank O'Hara laughs as he introduces this favorite in a fantastic recording from September 1964.

I read "Poem" for the first time in a class at the University of Michigan called "Contemporary American Poetry and 'The Personal'" when I was twenty. I memorized it immediately for an "Intro to Poetry" class I was taking concurrently. Reciting it again now, I still revel in O'Hara's voice. There's a dreaminess, a dizziness to "Poem" that I fall for every time.

Here's the perfect favorite poem for a Saturday, "Poem" by Frank O'Hara:
Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to see you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up
5 of 30. Happy National Poetry Month!