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Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]

Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]

by Frank O'Hara

Art and Culture Theme

Frank O'Hara was a classy dude. He went to Harvard, he worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and he was friends with many of the most important poets and artists of his day. Yet this famous poem is about something as trite as a celebrity scandal. O'Hara was interested in both so-called "high" art (such as abstract expressionist painting) and so-called "low" art (like popular movies and television). He incorporated both the high and the low – the elitist and the popular – into his poems. The speaker of this poem isn't embarrassed by his love of pop culture; he seems almost proud of it.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Does O'Hara succeed in writing about "low" culture (celebrity gossip) in a "high" form (poetry)?
  2. Is this a serious poem about a silly topic? Or maybe a silly poem about a serious topic? Or does it all seem silly to you?
  3. Is the weather the only thing that separates New York from Hollywood? Or are there implicit cultural distinctions between the two?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Frank O'Hara elevates the cultural status of Hollywood by writing about it in the "high" art form of poetry.

By writing about celebrity gossip in a poem, Frank O'Hara isn't treating poetry seriously enough. He should pick more worthy themes for his poems.

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