Frank O’Hara

By Ted Berrigan 1934–1983 Ted Berrigan
Winter in the country, Southampton, pale horse
as the soot rises, then settles, over the pictures
The birds that were singing this morning have shut up
I thought I saw a couple kissing, but Larry said no
It’s a strange bird. He should know. & I think now
“Grandmother divided by monkey equals outer space.” Ron
put me in that picture. In another picture, a good-
looking poet is thinking it over, nevertheless, he will
never speak of that it. But, his face is open, his eyes
are clear, and, leaning lightly on an elbow, fist below
his ear, he will never be less than perfectly frank,
listening, completely interested in whatever there may
be to hear. Attentive to me alone here. Between friends,
nothing would seem stranger to me than true intimacy.
What seems genuine, truly real, is thinking of you, how
that makes me feel. You are dead. And you’ll never
write again about the country, that’s true.
But the people in the sky really love
to have dinner & to take a walk with you.

Ted Berrigan, “Frank O’Hara” from The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan. Copyright © 2005 by University of California Press. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California Press, 2005)

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Poet Ted Berrigan 1934–1983

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Ted Berrigan—Edmund Joseph Michael Berrigan Jr.—was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the oldest of three children of Margaret Dugan and Edmund Berrigan, the chief engineer at Ward’s Baking Company. On both sides the family was Irish Catholic. Berrigan attended local schools and entered Providence College, a local Catholic school, but left after a year and enlisted in the army.

Berrigan was sent to Korea in 1954 but never saw . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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