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November 11, 2010, 7:00 PM

Our Life in Poetry: Frank O'Hara

Poetry Reading & Discussion
Participants: Michael Braziller, Mark Doty, David Lehman

The perennially fresh poems of Frank O'Hara have become quintessential texts of New York: witty, breathless transcriptions of urban life that are sometimes funny, sometimes passionate, and always alive. O'Hara's work drew upon the principles and experiments of his painter friends, and brought a new sense of spontaneity and intimacy into American poetry. He was a central figure in the New York School of poetry, and collaborated with the poets John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, as well as painters Joe Brainard, Jane Freilicher, Grace Hartigan, and Larry Rivers, with whom his name is often associated. Moderator Michael Braziller, publisher of Persea Books, will join Mark Doty and David Lehman to read and talk about some of O'Hara's most significant and well-loved poems, such as "The Day Lady Died," "Meditations in an Emergency," "Why I Am Not a Painter," "My Heart," "A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island," and "Mayakovsky," among others.

David Lehman is the author of eight books of poetry (most recently Yeshiva Boys) and seven works of nonfiction (including A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs; The Last Avant-Garde; Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man; and The Perfect Murder). He is the series editor of The Best American Poetry, which he launched in 1988. He edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry as well as anthologies devoted to prose poems, erotic poetry, and poems illustrating traditional as well as innovative forms. He heads the poetry division of the graduate writing program at the New School in New York City.

Mark Doty's Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. He is the author of eight booksof poems and three volumes of nonfiction prose, most recently Dog Years, a New York Times bestseller. His work has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, and the PEN Martha Albrand Prize for Nonfiction. He has recently published The Art of Description: World into Word, a handbook for writers, and is at work on a new prose volume, What is the Grass, a meditation on sex, the body, ecstasy, and Walt Whitman. He teaches at Rutgers University.

This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.


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