A Summary of the First 35 Pages of the Book
The first part of the Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara is a synthesis of crucial, essential, and significant poems for literature, history, and art. These are simple, straightforward, but, at the same time, great and unique creations that have found a broad resonance with the public around the world, which tends to the high and beautiful. Published more than 50 years ago, these poems still do not lose their relevance, illustrating the pure New York joy of life with a crumpled but always one step ahead of the impressive style, charm, and beauty. Consequently, it should be noted that the book has a unique appeal that does not have clear boundaries, frames, and even time and place.
Hence, “Music,” “Alma,” “On Rachmaninoff’s Birthday,” and many other creations symbolize a state that anticipates any changes and transformations in the English language and other variable forms. Together with a reader, Frank walks around the bustling city, buys chocolate, talks to taxi drivers, and remembers the birthday of his loved one. Personal memories and themes of New York in the 60s seem to run through the book like a red thread. Sometimes such events cause delight, and sometimes they are strange, and sometimes they seem necessary at all but do not make much sense.
Specifics From the Poems
The collection of O’Hara’s works is an example of careless and elegant poetry simultaneously, coupled with individual experiences and subjective views on the current picture of the world. Nonetheless, this compilation shows acerbity, abundance, lonely seriousness, and a minute-by-minute autobiography for a broad and possibly indefinite audience. These works have a specific meaning, but at the same time, they are meaningless and thoughtless, and the author looks at things both with a serious look and with irony in his soul. On the specified pages, O’Hara manifests himself as an outsider, an alien from another planet, and a native American who has to face the existentialism of the modern world and lifestyle.
There is a possibility that poetry for Frank is nothing more than an appeal to the same thinking, deep thinking people who overcome loneliness and the longing for being. He shares gossip and assumes about modern life sarcastically, enthusiastic way. Sometimes it seems that living for O’Hara means spending time aimlessly and uselessly. In particular, this can be noticed in those periods when people thoughtlessly live their lives and do not notice it — they study, work, and rest but do not understand why and for what. In addition, the book uses a combination of high and low cultures; facts, associations, fiction, and assumptions are separated here. Today, Frank’s poems are read like a series of tweets or Instagram posts with brevity, accuracy, and magnificence.
Summarizing the above, I would like to mention what is most imprinted in my memory. For instance, reading Frank O’Hara, I get to know the narrator as intimately as a close friend. Furthermore, I can see him in one mood, then in another — enthusiastic, sensual, motionless, playful, interested and attentive, detached and bored, then depressed, alternately tender and quarrelsome. Thus, I feel that I am sitting next to him and drinking coffee, talking about pressing matters and remembering old times. In my opinion, in expressing his thoughts, Frank does not hesitate to experiment and abruptly moves from a direct statement to the expected question and answer, from the first person to the second, and from one grammatical tense to another. These differences, in turn, correlate with rapid transitions from lyricism to buffoonery. I think that this aspect is a significant feature of both the author himself and his memorable, inimitable poems.