Frank O’Hara

Frank O'Hara (1926 - 1966)

Francis Russell (Frank) O’Hara (June 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966) was a United States poet who, along with writers like John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, was a key member of what was known as the New York School.

Frank O’Hara, the son of Russell Joseph O’Hara and Katherine Broderick, was born in Baltimore, grew up in Massachusetts and moved to New York City in 1951.

His work was immediate and were often quickly typed out. (One collection, Lunch Poems was so named because he typed them up on his lunch hour.) Low and high cultural references mingle easily in his work, with an often dreamlike lyricism. His most anthologized poems are “Why I Am Not a Painter” and “The Day Lady Died,” the latter about Billie Holiday.

O’Hara was active in the art world, working as a reviewer for Art News and as a curator for the Museum of Modern Art. He was friends with a number of prominent artists like Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers and Bill Berkson.

O’Hara died in a freak accident on Fire Island. He was run over by a dune buggy while sleeping on the beach.