Circulating
Frank O’Hara
in Enthusiast!

This chapter talks about the enthusiasm with which Frank O'Hara embraced and motivated the New York art world of the 1950s and 1960s, and shows enthusiasm to be a principle of his criticism. The point is to establish enthusiasm as a principle of O'Hara's own creative work. By the example of Jackson Pollock, O'Hara sought new ways of doing writing, the intention of which was a reconfiguration of the relation between writer, poem and world. It is this reconfiguration of writing itself that the author wants to dwell on now, fundamental as O'Hara's changing sense of the act of composition is to questions of audience, content and theme in his work. 'A Step Away from Them', written on 16 August 1956 stands, in this book's account of literary enthusiasm, as a major moment in the development of America's written consciousness; of the consciousness made possible by American writing.

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Enthusiast!

Essays on Modern American Literature

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