"Dear Joe, Some tries at answering questions in mountains": First Edition of Frank O'Hara's Meditations In An Emergency; Inscribed by Him to His Longtime Partner Joe LeSuer

  • Meditations In An Emergency.
  • Meditations In An Emergency.

Meditations In An Emergency.


Item Number: 101209

New York: Grove Press, 1957.

First edition of this classic work by one of the leaders of the New York School of poetry. Octavo, original cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “Dear Joe, Some tries at answering questions in mountains – love, Frank.” The recipient Joe LeSuer, was O’Hara’s longtime partner. LeSueur lived with O’Hara from 1955 until 1965, the years when O’Hara wrote his greatest poems, including ‘To the Film Industry in Crisis’, ‘In Memory of My Feelings’, ‘Having a Coke with You’, and the famous Lunch Poems-so called because O’Hara wrote them during his lunch break at the Museum of Modern Art, where he worked as a curator. (The artists he championed include Jackson Pollock, Joseph Cornell, Grace Hartigan, Jane Freilicher, Joan Mitchell, and Robert Rauschenberg.) The flowering of O’Hara’s talent, cut short by a fatal car accident in 1966, produced some of the most exuberant, truly celebratory lyrics of the twentieth century. In near fine condition. An exceptional association.

Frank O’Hara was one of the great poets of the twentieth century and, along with such widely acclaimed writers as Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and Gary Snyder, a crucial contributor to what Donald Allen termed the New American Poetry, “which, by its vitality alone, became the dominant force in the American poetic tradition.” Frank O’Hara was born in Baltimore in 1926 and grew up in New England; from 1951 he lived and worked in New York, both for Art News and for the Museum of Modern Art, where he was an associate curator. O’Hara’s untimely death in 1966 at the age of forty was, in the words of fellow poet John Ashbery, “the biggest secret loss to American poetry since John Wheelwright was killed.” “Moving in the way that only simple communication can be moving. . . . His poems always manage a fresh start, free from the dreadful posturings of the conventional verse of his generation" (Kenneth Rexroth, The New York Times Book Review). Meditations In An Emergency is O'Hara's third collection—following A City Winter and Other Poems (1952) and Oranges (1953)—with 52 poems, including the title poem, "To the Harbormaster," "On Rachmaninoff's Birthday," "For James Dean," and "Sleeping on the Wing."

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