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Frank O'Hara
(June 27, 1926 - July 25, 1966) U.S.A.

Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler

Poet and art critic


Born in Baltimore, when he was one year old, his family moved to Grafton, Mssachusetts. where he was privately educated until 1944. He served two years in the Navy before entering Harvard to study music. He switched to English, gaining a BA in 1950, and then completing an MA at the University of Michigan in 1951. That autumn O'Hara moved into an apartment in New York City with Joe LeSueur, who would be his roommate and sometimes his lover for the next 11 years.

He then took a job at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, spent two years as an associate editor and eventually, in 1960, became curator of paintings and sculptures at the Museum of Modern Art.

In his poetry he sometimes collaborated with artists, and was interested in translating the techniques of Dadaist art into poetry. He and artist Larry Rivers were lovers. He died prematurely, having been hit by a dune buggy on Fire Island.

His poetry, published in A City Winter (1952), Meditations in an Emergency (1957), Second Avenue (1960), Odes (1960), Lunch Poems (1964), and Selected Poems (1973, National Book Award), is marked by an extremely autobiographical relation to his New York environment and an immediacy that John Ashbery compared to the painting of Jackson Pollock.

Art Chronicles (1975) collects his criticism; Standing Still and Walking in New York (1975) is a gathering of essays and notes, followed by Early Writing (1977)


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