Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]
by Frank O'Hara
Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!] Theme of Language and Communication
The speaker first hears about Lana Turner's problems via a newspaper headline. The entire headline is capitalized in the poem, so that it almost seems to be screaming. The speaker just can't resist the celebrity gossip, which becomes the focus of the second half of the poem. The newspaper and its very public "speech" intrudes on his private life, interrupting the conversation he's been having with the addressee of the poem.
Questions About Language and Communication
- Why is it important that the speaker hears the news about Lana Turner via a newspaper headline? How would the poem be different if the speaker heard the news from a friend?
- If O'Hara were writing a similar poem today, would he find out about Lana's collapse in a newspaper?
- What are the differences between public forms of communication (such as the newspaper headline) and private forms of communication (such as the tiff in the beginning of the poem)?
Chew on This
The speaker can't help being overwhelmed by celebrity gossip. He doesn't seek it out; it just finds him.
The speaker seeks out celebrity gossip. Most people wouldn't pay any attention to such a silly headline.