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LeSueur is neither vindictive nor pointlessly benign. He truly understood and appreciated O'Hara's central position in the explosion of art that was happening in New York in the 50s and 60s. Unlike Ginsberg and the Beat poets, O'Hara was equally at ease among literary folk, musicians, and painters especially the abstract expressionists.
To read about O'Hara is to read about the greatness of post-war New York. Because O'Hara often adopted a casual, off-hand, personal approach when writing his poems, it is great to have someone who was intimate with the poet to explain "who's who" and "what's what. O'Hara and LeSueur were both openly gay, though they had quite different approaches to meeting their sexual needs. O'Hara seems to have had fewer partners, usually choosing them from his circle of friends and aquaintances. LeSueur seemed to favor one-night stands and casual sex.
Perhaps this difference is one reason their friendship continued long after their sexual intimacy ended. Joe LeSueur's memoir of his friend and companion, is a truly illuminating portrait of the artist.
Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara: A Memoir
What makes these digressions so rich and rewarding for the reader, is the unique perspective LeSueur is able to bring to this material. These are LeSueur's memories of experiences and events shared with O'Hara and their myriad of friends and acquaintances. I found this book to be compelling, intimate and inspiring indeed, "Lunch Poems" and "Selected Poems" were never too far out of reach, and both read from cover to cover. By virtue of having been a participant or, at the very least having been an eye witness to the events depicted, LeSueur has captured not just a time and place, but the essence of a cherished friend.
I found myself reading slowly, savoring each passage. By the end of the book I felt I had really gotten to know O'Hara and his circle of friends, and found myself in tears as I read the last few pages. LeSueur's memoir is a tribute to Frank O'Hara as both an artist and a beloved friend.
Grady Harp Top Contributor: Joe LeSueur has provided the cultural history of American arts in the midth Century with this seamlessly interesting and informative inside perspective on the important role of Frank O'Hara - poet, art critic, champion of the visual, musical, and literary arts par excellence.
While many of the poems introducing each chapter are well known to us, it is the window to the world of O'Hara's life and times that is so well served by Joe LeSueur's writing. O'Hara was a behind the scenes observor, never hogging the limelight and in fact avoiding it, always with his keen eye on good art, good music, good writing, and always turning out poems that only now are being read seriously by the general public.
Joe LeSueur live with O'Hara, joining O'Hara in his flagrantly 'Out' gay life, hobnobbing with all the other gay artists of his time in a way that makes him the recorder of that important preStonewall age, a time when even the giants such as Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, etc were closeted.
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At times LeSueur borders on the gossipy side, but that only enhances his subject. What we are left with here is a wonderfully composed tribute to a great artist and supporter of the arts. The overall effect of this book is monumental, and at the same time exceedingly conversational. See all 10 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on April 30, I just am not fond Published on October 22, Published on June 3, Published on May 1, Published on May 24, Published on July 5, Published on May 4, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
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Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara: A Memoir by Joe LeSueur
Set up a giveaway. Customers who bought this item also bought. And it produced America's greatest poet of city life since Whitman. Alternating between O'Hara's poems and LeSueur's memory of the circumstances that inspired them, Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara is a literary commentary like no other—an affectionate, no-holds-barred memoir of O'Hara and the New York that animated his work: This volume, which includes many of O'Hara's best-loved poems, is the most intimate, true-to-life portrait we will ever have of this quintessential American figure and his now legendary times.
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