10. Frank O'Hara, "The Day Lady Died"

Frank O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died" is an elegy. But its approach to the deceased person being memorialized is quite different from that of traditional elegies. What are the differences? What happened during O'Hara's "day"? Why does he use the present tense?  O'Hara is deemed a key member of the so-called "New York School" of poets, and he is thought of as having mastered a style called "I do this I do that." Give this poem, what might that phrase mean?

"Lady" was, of course, Billie Holiday.

1. read the poem: link to text
2. watch a 20-minute discussion of the poem: link to video

1 comment:

  1. I love it. It makes me feel as if I'm there, watching him from above, like a camera shooting a scene in one take. So for me the"I do this I do that" style makes his elegy forever. (other poems try hard to be too eternal and so In the end they don't have that forever feel-like this does, even if the details or references are tied to a time and place