Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Brian Oberkirch | Aug 6 2008
Frank O'Hara didn't seem to have this problem. He made it a point not to be a professional poet, but to write poems and essays and catalog introductions and letters and his own life in the due course of long days he filled equally with chatter, lunches, working at the MOMA, talking on the phone. Kenneth Burke called literature equipment for living, and O'Hara never put his away. He was always making. Sometimes poems, sometimes friends.
He has a slim book of work called Lunch Poems, and you might think of that as his primary mode of composition. While out walking from the museum to get lunch, he'd do a poem. Maybe he'd type it up and stick it in a drawer later. I'm pretty sure that one of my favorites of his (Lana Turner Has Collapsed!) was drafted during a ferry ride en route to read with Robert Lowell. That is balls. And it's also a better lesson than maybe any one of O'Hara's works: your creative life is part of your life. When making things is just another open window, you've won.
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