3 may. 2006

Some of the modes, genres, forms, and authors that Frank O'Hara was making reference to in his Early Writing.

Pound. Joyce. Auden. Hugo. Shelley. Wordworth. Stevens. Woolf. Faulkner. Donne. Pirandello. "Lorna Doone." Max Ernst. Herrick. Webster. Hemingway. Gide. Proust. Williams.

Epitaph. Aphorism. Parody. Pastiche. Triolet. Nursery Rhyme. Sonnet. Litany. Pastoral. Prose Poem. Diary. Memoir and autobiography. Short-story. Suite. Ecphrasis. Dialogue. Eclogue. Dirge. Song. Blues. Torch Song. Concrete Poetry. Theme and Variation. Ballad. Macaronics. Poems in foreign langauges (French and German.) Archaism. Homage. "Vowel poems." Madrigal.

A lot of the writing seems "not very good." The prose is much better than the poetry, in fact. The fascination is with seeing someone who is self-consciously, very deliberately, developing a style. Like trying on clothes in a dressing room. Not everything is going to fit or look good, but at the end of the process he knows what's going to work and what's not going to work for him. The "academic" Audenesque style of the day is not going to be a good fit, but is going to a tool in the tool-box when used parodically. There's another more plain-spoken, less precious voice that emerges from time to time. That's going to be his "sincere" voice. And there's a Pasternakian romanticism that we'll see later on.

We're talking about the late 40s here. And the full range of his poetry was not to become very well known until after 1971 and the Collected Poems. No wonder he saw his work as so far in the future. The world in which his poetry would even make sense did not yet exist. It was not comprehensible. I don't mean that the words on the page were incomprehensible, but that what he was doing simply made no sense at the juncture. Now we have had second-generation New York school and flarf it is (relatively) easy to see what he was doing.

1 comentario:

Bob dijo...

The sentence "That's going to be his 'sincere' voice" has amused me for days.