The Center of All Beauty

The Amate. If you look closely you can see our tiny house behind it, and Felipe sitting in the crotch, just to give you an idea of its size.

The Amate. If you look closely you can see our tiny house behind it, and Felipe sitting in the crotch, just to give you an idea of its size.


Almost thirty years ago, a friend gave this poem and told me, “This reminds me of you.” I have carried it all this time. I’ve tucked it into my journal, pinned it on corkboards, hung it in cubicles, magnated it to refrigerators. Now, at the half way point of my personal challenge to recite 52 poems in 2014, I will recite it for you. Never before has the poem meant so much to me. For I am finally, here under the amate in the palm of the Sierra Hualta, truly, in the center of all beauty, writing and reciting these poems. Imagine!



Autobiographia Literaria

By Frank O’Hara


 When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls, and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out “I am
an orphan.”

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poem!



Thank you for listening.
What is your vision of the center of all beauty?

“Lana Faints; In Hospital”: A Visual Footnote for Frank O’Hara’s “Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed)”

Great post. Great blog. Don’t miss the link to: Lana Turner has Collapsed. I love this poem and had forgotten it. Many thanks, Andrew Epstein.

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)” is one of Frank O’Hara’s funniest and best-loved poems.  With its campy treatment of a tabloid headline about a glamorous celebrity facing adversity, it’s often cited as an example of O’Hara’s embrace of pop culture and his affection for the cinema and its stars.

I assume the influential poem even has something to do with the unusual name of the excellent journal of poetry and commentary, Lana Turner, now on its sixth issue (I may be mistaken about that connection, but it’s one I can’t help but make).

As the oft-told story about the poem’s origin goes, O’Hara wrote it while he was on the way to give a reading with Robert Lowell at Wagner College on Staten Island.  O’Hara didn’t care much for Lowell’s poetry, and as David Lehman tells it in The Last Avant-Garde, “O’Hara regarded the event as something…

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The Harbormaster by Frank O’Hara


I’m a bit behind in my posting because I’m on a visa run. I must return to the U.S. every six months. This is last weeks poem.
I will be in the states for the next two weeks and look forward to catching up with my blogging friends, good internet signal and walking the Galveston shoreline. Hope you enjoy The Harbormaster by the master poet Frank O’Hara.