11 may. 2006

Both Lorca and O'Hara have an elusive, protean sense of self. This leads to problems for critics who want to define either of them in a single way. Lorca can seem immature, evasive, precious, kitschy... O'Hara, frivolous, campy, immature, precious, gay. It is surprising reading through a compilation of O'Hara reviews and essays ("To be True to a City") to see how often critics use the words "gay" and "gaiety"--in their original sense, not as references to homosexuality--though this too is implied of course!

Simplistically, I'd have to say that the gay poets understand the vicissitudes of Lorca's self in a more complex, empathetic way. O'Hara, Spicer, Duncan, as opposed to Creeley, Rothenberg, Koch. (Lorca was killed at age 38. O'Hara and Spicer died at 40.) That is, they see Lorca's problem as fundamentally a problem of self-definition. The straight poets see Lorca in more orientalist terms, as identified with the essence of Spanish culture, where Spanish culture is identified with the Andalusian gypsy.