« Adresse lyrique et refus de correspondre dans la poésie de Frank O’Hara »

Abstract : Hovering between biographical precision and lyrical elaboration, Frank O’Hara’s poems are often addressed to friends and lovers. As the mock manifesto “Personism” reveals, the issue of communication lies at the heart of his poetics : instead of picking up the telephone, the poet, O’Hara says, can write a poem to the person he wanted to call. Instead of writing letters, O’Hara wrote a number of epistolary poems to his would be addressees. Feeding on aborted telephone calls and unwritten letters, O’Hara’s lyricism explores a new mode of communication, which he deemed more “personal”. His poems create the illusion of an ongoing conversation between friends and lovers, while really aspiring to “the ideal possibility of not communicating” (Kaufmann). Perverting the impulse to communicate even as it claims to be nourished by it, Frank O’Hara’s poetry calls for the dispersion of the author’s voice by invoking the reader, who eavesdrops on every exchange, yet whose intervention is necessary to the poem’s survival. O’Hara’s messages never seem to reach their addressees without giving them the reassuring or disheartening impression that they are not alone in receiving them.
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https://hal-upec-upem.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01370146
Contributor : Olivier Brossard <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 9:50:11 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 3:10:14 PM

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Olivier Brossard. « Adresse lyrique et refus de correspondre dans la poésie de Frank O’Hara ». Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines, Paris : Association Française d'études américaines, 2007, pp. 80-94. ⟨hal-01370146⟩

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