Frank O’Hara & the (Extra)Ordinary
In this month’s post for One Clover & A Bee over at Hilltown Families I recommend a writing challenge based on a poem by the inimitable Frank O’Hara.
O’Hara might seem a strange choice for a column devoted to poetry for families, but in this case (and many others, IMO), he’s the perfect antidote to our aversion to the ordinary. In the world of O’Hara— if you look closely—there is no such thing as ordinary. Instead, the more you look at the “stuff” of the world, the more you find to think about, maybe even celebrate. The same is true of this poem: read closely and you see that the celebrating has a somber side, too. (Hint: “beachheads” & “biers”)
Here’s the poem:
Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
You really are beautiful! Pearls,
harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
the stuff they’ve always talked about
still makes a poem a surprise!
These things are with us every day
even on beachheads and biers. They
do have meaning. They’re strong as rocks.
If you want to read the column and try the writing challenge, go here. Right now! And the next time you think you have nothing to write about, take a Frank O’Hara and call me in the morning.