Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara

Here we are, my latest attempt to cover 100 of David Bowie’s favourite books: Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara. It’s only the sixth one, but I’ve also managed to stockpile quite a few of the others that I'm almost sort-of happy with. Working without a client or a deadline is surprisingly frustrating – it’s impossible to let go, to accept a final design. 

But this one, I'm definitely sort of happy with. Mostly because I love that 1965 photograph of O’Hara by Mario Schifano, like he would pose for the cover, but he really has to take this call and besides he’s just too damn busy being poetic and destroying literature, as per his manifesto for Personism:

Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody knows about … was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It’s a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages. In all modesty, I confess that it may be the death of literature as we know it. While I have certain regrets, I am still glad I got there before Alain Robbe-Grillet did. Poetry being quicker and surer than prose, it is only just that poetry finish literature off.

For more of this sort of thing, check out Jason Kottkes post on O'Hara.