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Frank O'Hara

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  • Frank O’Hara was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1926, and grew up in Grafton, Massachusetts. He served in the US navy (1944-46) in the South Pacific, and attended the universities of Harvard and Michigan. In 1951 O’Hara settled in Manhattan, and soon became a central figure in a number of the city’s artistic circles. For most of the fifteen years that he lived in New York he worked at the Museum of Modern Art, graduating from the front desk to become Associate Curator. He was a passionate advocate of Abstract Expressionist painters such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline. O’Hara wrote an enormous quantity of poetry, little of which was published during his lifetime, but which was much admired by friends such as John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, V.R. 'Bunny' Lang, James Schuyler, Fairfield Porter and Larry Rivers. He died on 25 July 1966, from injuries sustained in a beach-buggy accident on Fire Island. He is buried at Green River Cemetery, East Hampton, Long Island. His Collected Poems (edited by Donald Allen) was published in 1971, and won the National Book Award for Poetry.
    Praise for Frank O'Hara '... a remarkable new poetry - both modest and monumental, with something basically usable about it - not only for poets in search of a voice of their own but for the reader who turns to poetry as a last resort in trying to juggle the contradictory components of modern life into something like a liveable space.'
    John Ashbery
    'O'Hara's hip, glamorous, freewheeling self-celebrations both reflected and helped disseminate a new kind of confidence and daring in American poetry.' Mark Ford 'Wonderful, original poems... He was an essential contact-man between  the worlds of painting and poetry. And he suggested a rich and fascinating dialogue between them.' Eavan Boland
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