Why i Am Not A Poet

11 kommentarer:

dunebuggy dealer sa...

Why i Am Not A Poet

i am not a poet, nor am i a painter.
Why? i think i'd rather be
a wheelbarrow, but i'm not red. Well,

see here, Rad Eggtooth
is damar dripping a painting. i dropt in.
"Siddown & have some chocolate vodka"
he sez. i drank; we drunk. i look
up. "You got DUSTDEVIL innit."
"Yep, it needed more demonic possession."

"Damnstraight." i sed & the days go by
& i dropt in again. The paintings
going on, & i split , & the days
go by. i drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's DUSTDEVIL?"
Now it looks like a tin of
sardines, "It was too much," Eggtooth sez,
"i painted over it."

But me? One day i'm thinking of
a banana : Run Run Run. i paste a line
about the slow peel. Pretty soon itsa
whole page wordly, unlining.
Then another page. There should be
so muchmore, not of banana, of
words, of how shitty banana is
& life too. Days go by. It's even in
several languages, i'm an exacto cutting .
My fruitbasket is finished
& I haven't mentioned
banana yet. It's slipping quick, i call
it TOTAL BANANAS. Then one day inna gallery
i see Eggtooth's painting, called COTTON CANDY.


Why I Am Not a Painter
by Frank O'Hara

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
Frank O'Hara.org

Poet Among Painters


Questions of identity in 'Oranges' by Frank O'Hara and Grace Hartigan

how poems work (orange)

Where the Visual Meets the Verbal: Collaboration as Conversation

Writing Poetry/Writing about Poetry : Some Problems of Affiliation

Why I Am Not a Painter Summary / Study Guide

Frank O'Hara's "Why I Am Not a Painter" was first published in 1957 in the Evergreen Review. Having a reputation for publishing some of the more adventurous works of the day, Evergreen Review was a fitting venue for O'Hara. Going against the predominant "neo-Symbolist" poetry of the time—a poetry in the tradition of T. S. Eliot, which critic Paul Carroll characterized in his The Poem in Its Skin as "civilized, verbally excellent, ironic, cerebral"—O'Hara's work is usually conversational and casual in tone. "Why I Am Not a Painter," in fact, like many of O'Hara's poems, reads as if O'Hara had simply improvised it off the top of his head.

Considered by many critics to be one of O'Hara's greatest poems, "Why I Am Not a Painter" reflects upon the creative process by comparing the writing of O'Hara's poem "Oranges: 12 Pastorals" with the painting of "SARDINES," a canvas by O'Hara's friend, the painter Mike Goldberg. Told in the first person from O'Hara's point of view, "Why I Am Not a Painter" is a narrative poem in which we see O'Hara dropping in on Goldberg who, at the moment, is starting his painting. After describing the process Goldberg goes through in order to complete "SARDINES," O'Hara reflects upon the process he himself goes through in order to write "ORANGES."

Both "ORANGES" and "SARDINES" have what appear to be unusual starting points, with O'Hara initiating the poetic process by thinking about the color orange, and Goldberg beginning his painting by brushing the word "SARDINES" on his canvas. In the end, however, neither of the finished works contains a trace of what originally inspired them: O'Hara's poem never mentions "orange" and Goldberg's painting no longer has the word "SARDINES" in it.

During the course of "Why I Am Not a Painter," O'Hara does not mention the title of either the poem or the painting he is discussing. He saves that until the end when he reveals that, despite the disappearance within each work of the original source of inspiration, the finished poem and painting are titled, respectively, "ORANGES" and "SARDINES."

Critic Marjorie Perloff, writing in her Frank O'Hara: Poet among Painters, describes "Why I Am Not a Painter" as "a profound jest" in answer to the question of why O'Hara—who was heavily involved with the art world and who eventually became a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York—was not himself a painter. Indeed, on a certain level the poem is a joke. Yet, as critics such as Perloff have noted, the humor and levity one finds in O'Hara's poetry does not make his work any less profound.


"One method of writing in rhyme
Is to hold a strong meter through time.
But with English word spelling
The task is compelling,
For words that should often don't rhyme.

"E.g. take a word like enough,
Which should mesh in verse with through.
But it's hard as cement
(Which is why I lament)
To make such words ever scan true.

"To write verse on an Army Colonel
Is a labor so fiendish infolonel
That I'd rather not do it
Unless I'm forced to it
By threat of hell-fire etolonel.

"So if to verse you're inclined,
I shouldn't need to remind
You this language curious
Oft yields verses spurious
That tax both your purse and your mind."

—John Wildman 1954 –
"Why I Am Not a Poet"

Marcacci continues his meditations using lists through the lines of "I Titled This Poem" which challenges the reader to make associations between the varied concepts presented line after line which appear random in nature. Patterns seem to offer themselves to the reader, leading one to try and guess or anticipate the narrator's intent:

"I titled this poem he who laughs last.
I titled this poem Beverly
I titled this poem is that a mouse in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.
I titled this poem sacrificial vegetarian commodity pith."

There is a playfulness in this poem which also betrays a sense of frustration, one familiar to any poet who struggles to find them and meaning in word symbols. The poem ends:

"I titled this poem why I am not a poet."

A self-deprecating ending having proven a poet's sensibility and allowing the reader to see the poem from the view of negation.

Finally, Marcacci ends the chapbook with "for Bai Wei" a truly lyric poem using commanding language to invite the reader to delve deeper into a lightless ocean as turned on the lines:

"devoid of that suck and that

"Beijing Background" bookreview

- - - - - - -

Why i Am Not A Poet

Why i Am Not A Poet

Why i Am Not A Poet

Why i Am Not A Poet

Why i Am Not A Poet

Why i Am Not A Poet

Why i Am Not A Poet

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

troylloyd sa...

the painter i reference in my version of O'Hara's poem is Jeff Dahlgren, a.k.a. Eggtooth, friend & comrade.

Eggtooth ist Rad

- - - - - -

mike cannell sa...

i' n t
a p t

ArtSparker sa...

I think those visuals can take the place of a good percentage of "The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock", especially the part with the derisive footman. Ah those terrible bananas.

Can a poem take the place of a mountain (of bananas)?

troylloyd sa...

we clmb
mtn of
a peak
a peep
a peel



ArtSparker sa...

We are all bears looking for bananas on the other side of the mountain...

eggtooth sa...

why i am not a blogger

i am not a blogger,i am an
out-of-work pornographic film actor.
why? i think id rather be the film in the can,but i wont edit. well,

i visit mr.lowercase
he is painting and writing at the same time with both hands
"run around the room!" he sez.
i run, he plays loud random sounds,and i run. i look up
"you have noise innit, i say
"yes..." He said,but i cld not hear the rest.
"hmmmm", i said and months go by
& i drop in again. The making is going on,and i go and make a movie,and i drop in. The making is done. the cum shot has been caught and i visit and his making is done.
There is no music.
Now his art looks like a silent movie. and it is finished
"Theres no noise in it?" I scream over nothing. "It wasn't enough" he says.
But me? one day im shooting a tired third load on an actor's face for my blog. and im thinking about love.
I lay down a quick pulsing stream on a cheek. Pretty soon it is her whole face, a smeary mess.pretty soon it is a love scene. and then another. There shld be so much more,not of love,but of cum,of how terrible love is. Days go by and my film is in couples' libraries.I can really cum hard.My movie is finished and i havent mentioned love yet. It is twelves posts I title "Love Scenes".
One day,in a grocery store, i hear Mr.Lowercase's art by the vegetable aisle.

troylloyd sa...

"We are all bears looking for bananas on the other side of the mountain..."

= )

hey Susan,


my BooBoo is fulla bananas & piknik baskets fill'd grizzly to gronk my cave in dreams until summer.

Scandinavian Legend. ber-serk-er. an ancient Norse warrior who fought with frenzied rage in battle, possibly induced by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms.

[Old Norse berserkr : *bera, feminine of björn, bear; see bher-2 in Indo-European roots + serkr, shirt.]

"Our adjective comes from the noun berserker, or berserk, which is from the Old Norse word berserkr, "a wild warrior or champion." Such warriors wore hides of bears, which explains the probable origin of berserkr as a compound of *bera, "bear," and serkr, "shirt, coat." These berserkers became frenzied in battle, howling like animals, foaming at the mouth, and biting the edges of their iron shields. Berserker is first recorded in English in the early 19th century, long after these wild warriors ceased to exist."


damn eggtooth jeff,

quite vivid of comment,
the "why i am not a blogger" title made me think about O'Hara, his Personism angle was perfect for blogging, and here's a picture of Jasper Johns, and here's a picture of the hotdog i'm eating for lunch, and here's a picture of that tugboat, and here's a picture of the sidewalk, and here's a clip from Ashbery: "The poetry that meant the most to him when he began writing was either French - Rimbaud, Mallarmé, the Surrealists: poets who speak the language of every day into the reader's dream - or Russian - Pasternak and especially Mayakovsky, from whom he picked up what James Schuyler has called the 'intimate yell.' So it was not surprising that his work should have initially proved so puzzling to readers - it ignored the rules for modern American poetry that had been gradually drawn up from Pound and Eliot down to the academic establishment of the 1940s.", and here's what de Man calls an "authentically temporal destiny which prevents the self from an illusory identification with the non-self, which is now fully, though painfully, recognized as non-self.", and here's everyday speech, oh and here's a poem: "Ionesco is greater
than Beckett, Vincent said, that's what I think, blueberry blintzes
and Khrushchev was probably being carped at
in Washington, no politesse
Vincent tells me about his mother's trip to Sweden
Hans tells us
about his father's life in Sweden, it sounds like Grace Hartigan's
painting Sweden
so I go home to bed and names drift through my head
Purgatorio Merchado, Gerhard Schwartz and Caspar Gonzales, all
Unknown figures of the early morning as I go to work ", and here's light & sassy,and here's a Grace Hartigan painting, and here's the New Yorker: "hunting and pecking on a portable Royal with great speed. (Trained as a pianist, he called writing “playing the typewriter.”)", and here's something from I=N=C=O=H=E=R=E=N=T: "How Contemporary American Poets are Denaturing the Poem, Part II," which was recently featured on WebdelSol, criticizes language poetry as "wordplay, without the play" (paragraph 4). Unfortunately, this is too often the case. Language poetry itself is often less appealing than the theories behind it, and is often treated as secondary to theory. While language writing may have broken new poetic ground thirty years ago, most of it no longer merits the label "avant-garde." The term "experimental" often rings hollow in reference to this work. Ironically, much new language writing seems as exhausted as the poetic mainstream.",and here is the traffic acting exactly like the sky.

ATLanta ARTnews sa...

cool biscuits.
james sanders said something i read last wednesday reminded him in ways of Spicer,but then conceded that praps this was cuz heze reading much of him as of late,what with the recent book out and all the attention,i guess...out of this,
i expressed my Intentions(danger danger)-and his response to those intentions were thoughts on Ashbery.
i just feel trapped in a loopty-looop or being relative to who i write(create in general)for.
i like the "intimate yell" expression though...it just seems that more and more the pretend nobody is watching is actually nobody watching,which wld be great,if it werent real real..we've achieved("we" being those before us and our general state of society) our goal and now that we have it-and are succumbing to it. the goal being some kind of posotioning of expression,to place it in a place where its observation is and is not.in a beautiful honest real way.
somehow this technology's capability to blindly share with everyone(and nobody),rather than simply knowing yr blindly sharing with those who pick up a magazine(what about feedback..is it necessary?),if not published but just deafly hearing yr words disappear reading into a microphone in 1960,or amongst friends in letters cooresponded-to what purpose? real life sharing? networking for publishing and MONEY?

to "ignore the rules" of those before him...hmmm.
i hate it but i think of that tired axiom about you gotta know the rules before you break them
and wld like to update it with
you need only be scantly aware of the rules before you break them
because defining truth has to do with getting those you perceive as relative to you to nod.
thats all life is. is our Now and our perceived results of our actions.to ourselves.
heres a link james sent of a place he got published with a piece "about" me in it...


troylloyd sa...

thanx for the link to 2ssue, it's quite bountiful, i will return to give it my full attention.

i used to know this skater kid called Awesome James, i think i'll start cllaing James Sanders "Awesome James" because his work is of the awe -- the piece of which you speak carries my eyes to reading like an elevator w/ an infinity button, eggtooth & rooshay.

this may interest you, while researching Malevich i bumped into a lucid essay by Suzi Gablik.

an excerpt:

"The most widespread attack on modernism and on the whole notion of art for art's sake has always come from Marxists, for whom the idea of art's function as something purely aesthetic and individual, and without external attachments, is spiritually sterile and corrupt. It represents the devitalization of culture in the final stages of capitalism, when the social-functional aspect of art dries up because the bourgeois artist sees art as a private activity, as part of the quest for self-realization, and as a means for the release of the individual from traditional restraints. In these terms, to know oneself becomes an end, instead of a means through which one knows the world.

True art, Marxists argue, examines the social and political reality behind appearance and does not represent it abstractly, divorced from appearances and in opposition to appearances. Marxist aesthetics demands that art illuminate social relationships and help us to recognize and change social reality. For art to be a social force, it must have a wide audience, and it must pass judgment on the phenomena of life. It must have as its subject the social world. Marx constantly stressed that art has a human social reality and must be integrated in a world of meanings--it is not a separate reality.

Both these positions--art as the expression of the individual or as the fulfillment of social needs--seem equally intelligible, but their conflicting demands at this point frame a major crisis in our culture: truth to the self or truth to the values of society. The sensibility of our age is characterized by this dilemma. When we assume either of these positions, we feel, more and more, that we are somehow being mutilated. We cannot satisfactorily adjust ourselves to either position, since each of them renounces what the other retains. Nor can their contradictions be resolved unless we manage to achieve some consensus as to the role art actually plays in modern society. Certainly the notion of things having no meaning outside themselves--of being valuable for their own sake--is relatively new, and we must see ourselves as light years away from the time, for instance, when art was used as a pedagogic tool for the church to illustrate religious stories, in an era when few people could read or write. Now, as Andy Warhol says, artists make things for people that they don't really need."

found here:

¿Has Modernism Failed?

¿ ?