A True Account of Talking to Poets About Frank O’Hara on Fire Island


O'Hara. (Courtesy frankohara.org) O’Hara. (Courtesy frankohara.org)

A gaggle of writers collected on the gay enclave of Fire Island Pines last weekend to honor the midcentury poet and New York School progenitor Frank O’Hara. In no particular order, their pop culture doppelgangers might include: Carly Simon from a certain angle; a kempt, healthier Phil Spector; Lady Gaga; late-career Charles Durning; a pre-“Justified” Timothy Olyphant; and Sal Romano, formerly Mad Men’s closeted gay. O’Hara met an unceremonious end nearby. After a night of partying in 1966, he stepped in front of a beach taxi. Because he had the habit of dashing off poems during his lunch breaks as an associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art and stuffing them in drawers, his work had just begun to reach its readers. He’d inaugurated the post-war trend of mixing high and low cultural references, taking the piss out of the eternal with the seemingly ephemeral…

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